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I’ve been feeling a little weird lately, particularly over the Christmas season. A little off-balance. It was a weird sort of year.

And this feeling was amplified a day or two after Christmas when Carrie Fisher died – something that was not only very sad for me, but also seemed to mess with my sense of reality in a weird way.

I usually like having my sense of reality messed with, by the way – I always find it engaging, because it forces me to think and to also go back to thoughts I’ve had periodically over the years concerning what the real nature of reality is. But no so much this time; not when it involves a sad event or the death of a personal (and, as it happens, massively popular) icon.

It wasn’t the only thing lately, however, that got me thinking outside of the box. And for the first article here this year, I decided to take things in a different direction for a moment. Read the rest of this entry »

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A story that has appeared in a few outlets in recent days, principally the Times of Israel, may provide a clue to the real reason why Trump’s short-lived National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has been made to resign – and it has nothing to do with Russia.
It is also something people should really be paying attention to.

According to a report in the Times of Israel, ‘Trump wants Jewish billionaire to vet spy agencies’. President Trump is reportedly looking into assigning an Israeli/US billionaire from the world of finance ‘to lead a broad review of intelligence services’. Read the rest of this entry »

If you happened to enter a hotel lobby or some other location and encountered this receptionist, would you sense anything peculiar about her? Or would she pass as normal?

A humanoid robot ‘receptionist’ recently (a year ago is still ‘recently’ to me) unveiled at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, ‘Nadine‘ is able to function in a remarkably human-like manner, is able greet visitors and remember their names, and even remember conversations they have previously had. She shakes hands with visitors, waves them goodbye, is able to smile at visitors, and possesses the human touch of looking into people’s eyes when communicating. Read the rest of this entry »

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You couldn’t really get a better – or more tragic – illustration than this of the continuity of agenda when it comes to US foreign policy and of how it doesn’t actually matter what administration happens to be in the White House.

It’s all about perspective, of course: but if you’re a child in Yemen, for example, it makes little difference to you whether you’re being murdered by US soldiers under a Donald Trump administration or by US soldiers under a Barack Obama or George W. Bush administration (or by Saudi airstrikes).

The striking story that illustrates this point came to my notice initially via the Free Thought Project, primarily citing Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept and the work of Jeremy Scahill: it involves two children from the same family, both having been murdered by American actions – one of them during the Obama administration and the other now in the Trump administration. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opponents of US-led foreign interventions and wars may find themselves disappointed by the foreign policy paths the Trump-led White House ends up taking.

It hasn’t taken very long at all for the ill omens to appear. For all the talk of a new, inward-looking protectionism and a backing away from Neo-Con activity in the Middle East, suspicions build that the new administration may be all set to continue the Neo-Con agenda and soon commence hostile activity against Iran.

The accusations being leveled at Iran by President Trump and his Islamophobic National Security Adviser Michael Flynn (the “Islam is a cancer” guy) concerning alleged Iranian violations of the nuclear treaty are likely manufactured to try to mislead the American public into accepting military action against Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

I was recently asked to do a new interview, this one for William Ramsay Investigates‘ You-Tube channel and the Ed Opperman Report radio network.

This is the You Tube video upload on William Ramsay’s main channel. The audio/radio version should be airing on Awake radio at 22.00 tomorrow (Saturday 4th February) and then otherwise available on all channels of the Ed Opperman Report. Read the rest of this entry »

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Didn’t have enough time to properly, fully eulogise concerning the brilliant British film, stage and TV actor John Hurt, who passed away a few days ago after a struggle with pancreatic cancer.

There would be a lot to say about Hurt, whose rich, varied career included any number of memorable or stellar performances. But my own permanent sense of connection to Hurt’s on-screen legacy is a particular performance from his younger years.

While many would regard his portrayal of the Elephant Man as one of the great performances in cinema, John Hurt’s portrayal of the unhinged Emperor Caligula in the classic series I Claudius stands as one of the most compelling television performances there has ever been. Read the rest of this entry »

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I have decided – due to requests from several people – to stop writing negative things about Donald Trump or the Steve Bannon administration that has just come into the White House.

Even though I have serious misgivings about this new administration and its outlook (along with some more positive views on some specific ideas), I will – for a little while, at least – refrain from upsetting anyone any further or bursting any bubbles by asking questions or being too critical about the Trump White House.

Barring any particularly extraordinary event, this will be a Trump-free zone for a while. Read the rest of this entry »

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Just as quick add-on to yesterday’s post about the Cheney/Rumsfeld regime’s torture programs and their psychological role in provoking so much of the modern radicalism and terrorism coming from the Middle East, there is another angle to this subject I wanted to touch on.

The interesting thing about torture – aside from its ineffectiveness in information-gathering – is that it is, conversely, regarded as highly effective in a completely different regard: as a form of mind control or psychological conditioning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Torture exists. It goes on in the world. We all know that.
30 years after the UN Convention Against Torture established measures to eradicate the practice, it is in fact still going on in at least 141 countries; including countries that are signatories to the UN convention, according to Amnesty International’s  annual report (the one I’m quoting is from 2014).

The 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights is unambiguous: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

That ruling, as well as the Geneva Conventions and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, dictates an absolute ban on torture for any purpose; note that there’s no special allowance for ‘times of war’ or ‘urgent matters of national security’ or any other excuse any governments or agencies might offer for their illegal actions. Read the rest of this entry »