26. Cheryl Glass

Cheryl Glass was a child prodigy. She was a scholar and business woman way ahead of her time. She started racing at 9 years old. Catching Father’s bug for motor racing she had huge confidence and talent.

Today along with Lewis Hamilton she would still be attracting attention for being a woman of colour in a sport filled with men. But when she was racing in the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s she was totally alone. She also attracted love and hate along the usual line of racial bias. She was a black woman racing driver while Obama was still in High School.

Unfortunately her racing career wasn’t about winning but she was competitive. At 18 years old she survived a horrific car crash, which would have ended most drivers’ career. But she carried on. Ruthlessly driven. It was her attitude that might have set her back. Vulnerable to being disappointed in herself with very high expectations of her ability – she tried to make huge leaps up the racing divisions. That optimism would soon be replaced by dejection. She was forced to give up motor racing.

She focused on her company Cheryl Glass Designs, a custom gown and wedding dress business. She was also a model, and involved in setting up Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education programs for inner city students.

But this was nothing compared to the last years of Cheryl Glass’s life. In 1991 she was attacked and raped in her own home.There was not enough evidence to bring charges. Her life dived here fighting for justice and her own survival. In the last four years of her life she made numerous reports of incidents to the police, fights with her neighbours, arrests, and restraining orders.
Her cause of death is unknown.

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25. US Dark Right

In this book the author records coming across a conspiracy of the rich (US Dark Right) to suppress democracy to enlarge their own wealth. She writes of a stealth plan of the Radical Right which was previously invisible. She describes a hidden programme to disable democracy. US Dark Right

James McGill Buchanan an economist quietly pushed his agenda of no government. No education, no public health care, or public housing. This was picked up on by the rich who funded a programme that any institution is an agent of oppression, forcing men of wealth to support the undeserving masses.

Buchanan was supported by wealthy business to develop his public choice theory. One of its tenants was the lack of incentive for the voter to vote or know how they are going to vote. The voter is ignorant of political information, has no influence on the result. So being politically knowledgeable is not worthwhile.

As an aside Buchanan was awarded a Nobel Prize for Economics in 1986! To save Capitalism from Democracy? This puts into doubt the reputation and validity of the Nobel Prize. Ex-President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Buchanan was the arbiter of stealth: never reveal your outcome. Bankrolled by billionaires like Charles Koch -academic faculties began to look like right wing think tanks. Slowly but surely they began to change the rules. Funding campaigns against public health systems by stating that radical reform is needed to save it . When in fact the aim is to destroy it. They infiltrated the Republican Party, and now the world has billionaire Trump.

Was Buchanan right? Is there a conflict between economic freedom and political liberty? Nobody would vote for freedom for billionaires so it has to be covert. Is Buchanan’s programme a prescription for totalitarian capitalism?
It seems the programme is coming to fruition.
US Dark Right

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24. Petrofiction

Petrofiction is a term created by Amitav Gosh to describe the few books written about the oil relationship between the United States and the Middle East. Petrofiction has expanded its reach to include petro-modernity, petro- criticism and an energy unconscious (petro-unconscious).

It started as a negative term: but is now being researched to reveal the link between the oil industry and English Literature. Who has the oil? Who wants the Oil? and how did they get the oil? are questions which are not easily answered due to the universal use of fossil fuels and their impact on the last 60 years of global civilisation.

Cities of Salt was the first novel to be written about the oil industry from an Arabic perspective. The idea being that cities built on salt can be easily washed away by the sea. Cities that rely on the revenue of oil are cities that offer no sustainable existence. The novel is culturally specific meaning that it can be judged in terms of Arab culture not Western culture. It has an insight into Gulf Politics and Culture that is translated from the Arabic into English.
It relates what happens to a small Bedouin community when oil is discovered by the Americans in the 1930s. The upheaval that is caused by the American Colonisation. It was banned in several Middle East Countries including Saudi Arabia.
Gosh claims that global warming has frozen fiction. Where the spice trade as a global commodity inspired countless works of fiction oil has produced little.

Gosh comes to the idea that “the materialities of oil and coal have led to very different political effects in the two economies, he moves, by way of a reflection on John Updike’s 1988 New Yorker review of Abdelrahman Munif’s novel Cities of Salt, to commenting on the privileging of the individual over the collective that has occurred in the conception of the novel, both in theory and in practice. The connections are at once inevitable, surprising and dazzling, the conclusion unimpeachable: “. . . at exactly the time when it has become clear that global warming is in every sense a collective predicament, humanity finds itself in the thrall of a dominant culture in which the idea of the collective has been exiled from politics, economics and literature alike”.

The 21st Century has become so individualistic that we do not notice. It is all around. it shapes our world – pervasive and unnoticeable.Yet immensely powerful.

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23. Cointelpro

Never heard of Cointelpro? No? It’s just the biggest undercover operation led by the FBI to monitor dissent in the 1970s. The FBI did this through psychological warfare, planting false reports in the media, harassment and assassinations.

On December 4th 1969 a select unit of 14 Chicago Police officers, on special assignment to Cook County State’s CointelproAttorney Edward Hanrahan, led a pre-dawn raid on a west side apartment that left Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead. In March 1971 to try and uncover the truth the Citizen’s Commission broke into a small FBI office in Media Pennsylvania and appropriated over 1000 FBI documents exposing the operations.

Once in court, to prove the link between the FBI and its covert operations, the Judge, an ardent supporter of the FBI, exonerated the FBI and its Justice Department lawyers of any wrongdoing in suppressing the documents.This decision was then overturned by a trial judge and finally the evidence came out.

So why has nobody ever heard of it? Well it was upstaged by the Watergate Scandal. Was this planned or just taking advantage of an incredible coincidence? Or just a conspiracy theory? Media outlets all over the world bury news which they don’t want us to focus on. The fact that Watergate focused on the impeachment of a US President is more attractive and sensational. Of course it was important. But nobody was killed, and the Presidency continued. Whereas Cointelpro covertly and illegally tracked hundreds of people who were deemed to pose a threat to democracy.
As the man said: “When the press focuses on the sex lives of politicians, reach for your pocket, and see who’s pulling out your wallet…” In other words we are all trained to notice what is in front of us, but this is just a distraction from the main event.

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22. Grenfell

The tragedy of Grenfell has shocked the nation. From the horror of how people died in the tower, to the warnings by professionals & residents of the building’s safety, to the exposure of how the political elite feel about the tower’s population.

Is this another impact of the Tory’s austerity programme? Another sign of how the nasty party wants to deregulate the UK, so that more profit can be made? An ongoing theme emerges of the haves and have nots. The poor living in one of the richest boroughs in the country. The wide and ever growing gap between rich and poor. Another sign that the UK is becoming more like Victorian Britain?

Now there is talk of corporate manslaughter. Someone to blame. Someone to take responsibility. Like all disasters there is a person or persons who made a mistake. The sleeping crew who forgot to close the doors on the ferry, to the flight captain who was impatient to get home. Both disasters were also blamed on cultures of poor communication.

There is a large part of human nature here. History is full of humans not doing things until there is a fatality. We appear to lack the ability to care for others beyond the lives we live in. For us to understand things they have to have happened to us. For the people who live in mortgaged properties in Kensington, they cannot imagine what it must be like to live a life of someone living in the Grenfell Tower.

People die to improve standards: in buildings, cars, hospitals, & wars. This is no relief to the bereaved. Humans work by crisis: otherwise things don’t change. We carry on, stumbling, tripping until we fall. It is only the fall which forces change.

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21. Elite Power

In this article the author writes that “Brexit is an elite project dressed up in rough attire.” In other words the elite dresses up its arguments to make the electorate think that the idea belongs to them. Not the elite. Whether the elite believed in Brexit or not was not the point. It was just made to look like it would benefit the people who it would not benefit. Elite Power

The elite managed to convince the Brexiteers that they could have everything without disadvantage. It was a game played by an elite used to debating at the Oxford Union. And again the disadvantages or Brexit however they develop will disadvantage Brexiteers more than the elite.

What is disturbing is that this is not obvious. That the elite are a self serving group who want power, and intend to keep it. The elite lying and cheating to hang onto power appears not to be known or understood. That they duped a large section of the population to vote for Brexit is, from a knowledgeable perspective, a Magician’s trick.

But offer the desperate a piece of revenge is too tempting to consider why it is being offered, or who really benefits? We all are open to being duped in the modern world. To an extent the world is a trick, a place where we are ill informed, where it is difficult to know what is really going on. Politics is a good example. Our primitive need for a short cut to feel better works every time. To be offered something that looks like it is ours is our attempt to regain some power. Power made to look like it is good for you. But is it?
Elite Power

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20. Manchester May 2017

Manchester May 2017
So a desperate young man known to the authorities and his own community manages to slip the net and kill 22     people and himself coming out of a pop concert. He was a muslim man a description politicians and press are not describing him as. The report states one of his acquaintances thought he was not clever and able to be easily influenced. High command saw their mark and ruthlessly exploited him with their ideology.

Like all human groups in peace or war there is a heirarchy. The officers command the troops. The troops die for the cause, while the officers quietly stay/retreat back to high command. The cause is implemented by those higher up the command. The cause is always explained logically, as though to think something else is unreasonbale or blasphemous.

Making the link between the West bombing other parts of the world and terrorists coming from those parts of the world seems obvious. But to make the link makes the establishment look like it has its own “foreign fighters“, and are more like the people who are attacking/retaliating against the West. In the end whatever the fight, the end only ends with talking.

Those Manchester families are now having an unimaginable Saturday night. Which last Saturday night was normal. The trauma of loss on the families physically and emotionally will impact on the rest of their lives. They will not recover from the bereavement, but perhaps one day the event will grow an inner strength of courage and humility, the rest of us will not have.

We can pretend, as the insurance industry would have us do, that we are in control of certainty. But what has not changed over the last centuries is how we are not. Our relationship to certainty has changed. We have become more arrogant. Our dislocation from the planet and nature has cut us off from the fragility of our lives.
Every day we hang by a thread.
Manchester May 2017

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19. All Night Corner Shop

All Night Corner Shop
What happens at the all-night corner shop before sunrise
     Notes from a News Stand          

All Night Corner Shop
In the early morning light, the small moments that start a day in the city slip from the mundane to the unexpected and back again, filled with meaning that’s just out of reach. In Notes from a News Stand, filmed by the US director Michael Faller near the Broadway Junction subway stop in the East New York neighbourhood in Brooklyn, the pre-dawn interactions at a small corner shop take on the qualities of a dream – vividly real, yet fragmented.

Director: Michael Faller

Score: Michael Odmark

All Night Corner Shop

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In the early morning light, the small moments that start a day in the city slip from the mundane to the unexpected and back again, filled with meaning that’s just out of reach. In Notes from a News Stand, filmed by the US director Michael Faller near the Broadway Junction subway stop in the East New York neighbourhood in Brooklyn, the pre-dawn interactions at a small corner shop take on the qualities of a dream – vividly real, yet fragmented.

 

In the early morning light, the small moments that start a day in the city slip from the mundane to the unexpected and back again, filled with meaning that’s just out of reach. In Notes from a News Stand, filmed by the US director Michael Faller near the Broadway Junction subway stop in the East New York neighbourhood in Brooklyn, the pre-dawn interactions at a small corner shop take on the qualities of a dream – vividly real, yet fragmented.



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18. Corbyn Dive

Mr Corbyn is taking a dive in the polls. Nobody trusts him. Nobody thinks he can lead his party or the country.      Corbyn Dive
Some would say he is a politician of conviction. He has integrity, and values & cares about people of lesser means. He does not twist or turn to other peoples’ views. He remains steadfastly Mr Corbyn.
Corbyn Dive

He is a man of decency sometimes looking like a minnow in a sea of sharks. And perhaps this is the problem. For over 30 years now the market has become ever more powerful. It has broken down groups, communities, by the use of fear. Fear of losing employment, essential services, or a familiar group or culture.

The times are more brutal. Everyone is an individual who lives and dies on their own capabilities. Not capable you are vulnerable to low benefits and dwindling services. If you cannot support yourself, nobody else will.

This has come about by an increase of wealth held by individuals. It used to be institutions. The wealthy need services just like anyone else – it is just that they can pay for them. Why should they pay for them through taxes: that is supporting others. Much better to pay only when they need it. Stop paying tax and pay for medical treatment only when necessary.

So Mr Corbyn finds himself in a new world where people perceive that they cannot afford to be communal. When times are hard our generosity dwindles to those close around us. Its not that people do not believe in Mr Corbyn’s morals and values – they are just surviving and too scared to look up and around. Nobody is going to look after them. So they have to look after themselves.

Money is the new moral currency. The Conservative Party is seen as the party of business and good handling of money. In a culture of fear and money the business party is going to win out. Morals and decency cannot be afforded through poverty and insecurity. There is only Pale Shelter.

Survival of the fittest. Keep your eyes open or somebody bigger will eat you. Or maybe you will just die exposed out in the open.
Corbyn Dive

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17. BMW Manners

BMW have got into trouble with advertising their luxury sporty saloon. It has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The strap line ‘Luxury just lost its manners’, and the claim that  ‘For some, the climb to the top is quicker’ make driving fast a message which the ASA could not tolerate. The ASA was concerned that theBMW Manners message was encouraging speed and potentially dangerous driving. The double spread advert in the Daily Telegraph advert targeted an audience who were ‘high-net-worth’ business leaders.

There is another message that could be interpreted here. That people who can afford luxury saloons don’t mind not having manners. In fact it is OK to be able to afford luxury and have no manners. BMW owners have BMW Manners which is no manners.

And so it would seem as it is perectly in keeping with the times. The marketing men have a knack of catching the wave of current thinking and exploiting it.  The rich are becoming super super rich. They can afford bad manners with little consequence. Brexit was a vote against the rich and the Westminster Elite. Trump is rich but still expected to revitalise the industries of Middle America.

There have always been rich and poor. But never has the gulf between them been so wide. We love entreprenuers and the making of money. The disdain business owners have towards their workers seems to be more Dickensian than 21st Century.
We are being taught to love weath more than anything. We always have been taught to love money. To be safe and in control are human traits which money can give us?  But a short cut which fails to develop a sense of justice, and togetherness. The gulf gets wider and wider.
BMW Manners

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