30 Sep 2016

Pokémon Kids of Aleppo

I have non-PC questions for the mainstream media (MSM). Those people in the news being the people in the know, they should have all the answers. They've certainly had it clear cut to us for over 18 months now that Bashar al-Assad's regime must go.

Moustafa Jano Janographic

I am not disputing any of the atrocities going on - far from it. What's been unclear from the MSM though is how a one-time ally of the West, educated, learned, progressive, secular, westernised and praised by us, and seemingly on the same page as us, suddenly be piloried... by us? Why must a country seemingly in working order, stable and prosperous to an extent, be pillaged, bombed and brought to its knees? How shall a leader whose wife, Asma al-Assad, once graced the pages of Vogue - the crème of the Establishment appreciation society, let us note - now be despised and ridiculed by said Establishment, and his country torn apart in some bizarre re-enactment of Bush's war on terror? Re-enactment as merely an extension of the on-going war on terror, fledged to any nation that is not compliant with a global agenda of some sort.

Since the MSM won't respond to me, I will have more chance of an answer from Pokémon as he quietly, compassionately sits by the side of those poor little kids caught in the frailty of life brought upon them by the globalists, shedding his digital tear to a reality that couldn't be more acutely real than the pain and suffering those little kids and babies are going through.

Moustafa Jano Janographic

By any twist of fate, is this misery being plagued upon Syria because Bashar is not singing from the same hymn sheet as those other Middle East nations that too were once prosperous, or at least on their way to modern civilisation, before being severely retrograded back to civil war chaos and theocratic regimes, like Iran, Irak, Libya, or Egypt, for the benefit of Big Oil and the global financial elite who would rather have ideologically-bankrupt rebels unleashed (ISIS)  and puppet tyrants run countries to the ground as a diversion, while crude oil carries on being pumped out and pipelined across lands and seas like poisoned blood running through diseased vessels, forwarded onwards to feed the goo to the consumerist paradigm, lining the pockets of the self-appointed rulers of this planet, namely a clique of control-crazed high-ranking financiers. Is that the reason?

Is this not a (faintly-veiled) religious war by the same token, the meticulous genocide of Christians and other minorities from ancient stock, an ethnic cleansing of sorts, that is raising no eyebrows from DC or the Vatican? Is this not part of a bigger picture, a wider roadmap, a blueprint for George Soros's open border societies, with hundreds of thousands of unvetted, undocumented, unrecorded refugees, mostly Islamist, pouring into the West, as a manufactured side effect of the war in Syria, killing two birds with one stone by redesigning both the Middle East and the Occident? History is being rewritten in real time before our very eyes, and the plot eludes us somehow because the rules have been changed. All I know is this is no Pokémon Go adventure!

Via The Daily Express

As if the web of deceit were not mucky enough for us to paddle through, things go bump on us, like the habitual James Bond villains that the financiers love to throw our way, engineering a second Cold War in the process. This time around, we are left wondering who the communists are - and it ain't Mother Russia.

In this day and age where freedom of speech is becoming a rare commodity, it is our duty to use it to bring ourselves to our senses and those around us. Use our freedom of choice to question and find out more, rather than lamely accept the MSM narrative.

World peace, the UN way, by Moustafa Jano Janographic

P.S: Should you be caught up - and stuck - in the illusion, be aware that Barack Obama is planning to surrender the U.S. control of Internet registration, privatising the DNS (Domain Name System) by handing it over to the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a California-based non-profit organisation, on 1st October 2016, putting our civil liberties under tighter global scrutiny in the longer term.

22 Sep 2016

Mankind, The Unkind

2016 might be the Year of the Monkey according to the Chinese astrological calendar, there is still a lot of monkey business going on - out of sight, out of mind - that is making life for our smart cousins, the Primates, Hell. The one positive is that the astrological year has brought the monkey plea to the fore of the wildlife conservation agenda. Meanwhile a picture like this one is almost impossible to look at! It summons anger, resentment and powerlessness in me, and you are bound to feel the same:

PETA

This innocent little monkey sat forlornly in a padlocked cage, has likely been snatched out of his wild habitat by unscrupulous wildlife dealers, and this reality signs up the very downfall of Mankind: our flawed propensity for control of the natural environment, stealing it and locking it away, and our self-serving endeavours that put Man in the centre of the equation, using wildlife as a resource to meet our needs: entertainment (zoos and circuses), fashion (fur), medical science (testing labs), not to mention sustenance (meat) and sport (trophy hunting).

The 'Man' part of the noun 'Mankind' has the propensity to be the 'Kind' part that it is attached to. Kind to themselves, others, animals and the world at large. We truly have this kindness in us. We have a good heart at heart. Then a flurry of externals come to play, notwithstanding our lifestyle choices that command implicitly or complicitly the unrelenting attack on the natural environment. Here is the catch though: all is interrelated within the macrocosm and microcosm of life:
"Man has little chance to stop being a torturer for man so long as he will continue to practice on the animal his job as executioner." - Marguerite Yourcenar
P.S: You can do your bit! Help monkeys by hurting a bottom line, that of Air France, which is one of the last major airlines in the world to still transport primates to labs and other dens of death! Sign PETA's petition and boycott Air France until they stop being a shameful part of the deadly trade!

16 Sep 2016

Inspire Aspire - Sir David Attenborough

Sir David Attenborough is a living legend. He harks back from the world of nature conservation and stands at the forefront of the collective psyche, in his home country and overseas! He is one of those rare and endearing national treasures whom we wish would be bestowed the gift of immortality by a nature faerie!

Sir David Attenborough is 90 years young! (pict source)

His passion for the natural world is infectious and we can only bow to his skill and savoir-faire in delving right into the depth of his knowledge base to bring out the right dosage of scientific knowledge which he then effortlessly distills out like with a pipette, translated in plain English to a broad and loyal TV audience, in long wondrous sentences that all to themselves have educated at least a couple of generations of kids outside of school. Sir David has made a resounding success out of his fascinating science-laced story-telling set against high-quality visuals and that makes him, in my mind, the best nature documentary broadcaster ever!

"Your lifelong service has created the most extraordinary educational legacy." - UK Prime Minister David Cameron to Sir David Attenborough, BBC One's Attenborough at 90

I have never come across one single piece of criticism towards the gentleman and that proves something. He is respected in his circles and beyond. He is an institution of fascinating science dissemination all to himself and a pillar of society who thrives by introducing us to nature with a childlike twinkle of awe in the eye.

Smart and passionate about nature! (pict source)

A plethora of members of the wild order have been named after him, as a sign of recognition and honour for his invaluable contribution to wildlife. This includes a dragonfly from Madagascar, and also a wingless beetle, a tiny spider, an ancient pygmy locust, a ghost shrimp, plesiosaurs (prehistoric creatures), a pitcher plant, a daisy, and the Sirdavidia genus! And as further homage to his worthwhile contribution to the United Kingdom, he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1985. The high number of awards and honorary degrees he has 'collected' along the years matches the uniqueness of the man.

What makes Sir David so popular has to do with his unique way in sharing his knowledge, and in his friendly persona, his humility, courtesy, go-getter attitude and strong work ethics, surrounded by a stellar team of audio-visual colleagues from the BBC who excel in the art of film documentary of a high calibre à la National Geographic - although it could be that National Geographic got inspired by Team David in the first place...

This is no fly-on-the-wall haphazard camera phone moment. You are talking the Deluxe package of well-researched, well-documented, budgeted high-end productions that take weeks of preparation and filming in often remote areas of the world, in difficult weather conditions. Yet the passion of every member of the crew for the natural world permeates every second of an Attenborough documentary. It is one Heaven of an experience! The end result is a reward to their hard work: superb cinematographic views, captivating story-telling through Sir David's unmissable voice-overs, seamless montage, mastering of light and shade to their best effect, the crisp close-ups captured in their minutiae, the patient time lapses. All fuse together into a finished article of compelling delight to watch and behold!

Let us note in passing a few of Sir David's royal credentials. First off, he shares the same birthday year as the Queen (1926), which makes him a cool 90 years young! Like 'Lisbeth', he is not about to retire! Thus don't let his age faze you for Sir David is not your average senior citizen! He's a picture of health and still clocks more miles in a year than the average person half his age would in their lifetime. Globe-trotting the world for wildlife's sake is second nature to him.

Meanwhile Sir David's anti-celebrity status makes him instantly loveable as an ordinary man who just happens to have an extraordinary life and who's old enough to be your grandad. Except this one is still hustling, having fun for a living! His positive attitude and adventurous inclination have inspired anyone with a case of wanderlust to chase the dream rather than stay stuck in the safety of some hapless job. Not everyone will make the journey though because not everyone is cut from the Attenborough cloth. And if David wasn't enough, think about his brothers' contribution to society, actor, film director and producer Richard and motor industry executive John.

Sir David has wide knowledge and wisdom; he cultivates simplicity and honesty like we would garden herbs - daintily. He is no 'look-at-me' show-off. There is no ambiguity as to where he stands: nature is the star of his show, not him. It does help that he has the physical elegance to carry this through and his poised voice is instantly recognisable: he has the clear-cut elocution, the well-balanced pitch and warm tone of a classically-trained actor.

The famed naturalist has had a profound impact on nature lovers like myself. He has turned the combined celebration of biology, ecology, conservation and filmography into an art form with a strong pertinent message. He cultivates a sense of humour but there is no pathos in his speech when, say, a lion kills a wildebeest because he understands nature: life out there revolves around the battle of the fittest.

In good company, with a black noddy. (pict source)

An enjoyable character and an incurable optimist, he casts nonetheless a critical eye on the way man has been treating the planet. He brings to our attention that since he's started working, the Earth population has trebled in size, resulting in exponentional land encroachment and loss of natural habitat. As human demography is exploding, wildlife will suffer even more severe losses.

This is a man who goes beyond the format of traditional wildlife documentaries like only a well-travelled, curious, original adventurer of his calibre would. Education and creativity go hand in hand. He pushes the boundaries of curiosity and nature fascination always. For instance, The Amber Time Machine (2004), part of the Attenborough in Paradise and Other Personal Voyages series, explores the identity of creatures trapped in amber.

His latest documentary to date, Life That Glows takes us on a journey through bioluminescence, light created by living things. He also launched David Attenborough's Great Barrier Reef, an interactive journey.

Two giants! Sir David Attenborough 'rubbing shoulders' with an elephant seal bull. (pict source)

In cleverly bringing together pertinent scientific knowledge, story-telling and those spicy anecdotes of the natural world, and technology, not to mention an upbeat and warm personality, Sir David has made a success out of nature reporting and created by the same token a captive audience that spans wide and far. From the Royal echelons down to the inner cities, the nature presenter is a social leveller, handing out to us a tasty serving of nature at its best for us to enjoy, understand, learn from, love and respect. Long live Sir David! May your rare talent keep inspiring generations of nature lovers and may the respect for the wild order, alongside wildlife itself, never go extinct!

13 Sep 2016

A Creative Illustrated Approach to the Bible

One way to deal with our troubled times, our modern day predicament whatever this might be, is to hark back to the past in order to seek solace, answers or simply to solidify the grounding of our core beliefs - faith for instance - that sit within the cultural territory of our heritage. And the revisited, nurtured grounding might just give us that extra footing so we can face the present more comfortably, with more assurance. Look at it like a watered, tendered, tilled garden. Or a book whose written content is interlaced with pertinent illustrations.

The Biggest Story by Kevin DeYoung, illustrated by Don Clark, via Invisible Creature

The purpose of this article is not for me to go all religious on you or for you to feel put off by the seemingly heavy topic of religion. The approach to and treatment of topics like religion (or philosophy for that matter) shouldn't need to be heavy either. I believe that the key to get children and adults interested in a book like the Bible, the way to make it appealing to them is visually: colourful, purposeful, unleashed creativity! I believe in the healing power of graphic design and how its magic and soothing, positive aura help tackle the (potentially) life-changing publications like the Bible, and outreach to a new audience or get them rediscovered. If I were to head the Ministry of Education, graphic designers, illustrators and other creatives would hold a pivotal role!

As a collection of sacred texts in Judaism and Christianity, compiled under the Old Testament and the New Testament, the Bible guides Jews and Christians in their spiritual journey. Christian believers should be somewhat connected to, acquainted to or familiar with the Bible, depending upon the depth of our relationship with faith and how much of a practicing believer we are. 

ibid.

The Bible, whose complimentary copy deposited by The Gideons in hotel rooms might be the closest some of us will ever get to in physical terms, and the closest opportunity to the path to spiritual enlightenment, yet a book which we might sadly only open if deprived of lighter reading matter, mobile devices or other forms of hotel 'entertainment'. Now if the Bible, or an introduction to it - which might suffice - were a pictorial feast like The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden, written by Kevin DeYoung and illustrated by Don Clark, in a carefully-summed up, loving way that resonates with faith neophytes, chance is we would take more than a last-chance-saloon interest in the Bible!

Illustrations have the power to reconnect us with serious topics, and reawaken us, rekindle the flame within. For some, it might just be enough. Others might delve deeper, reach out for a de-facto copy of the Bible and start reading the Scriptures and maybe befriend the local church. As an aside, just think what a little illustrative licence would do to Tolstoy's War & Peace?

ibid.

Cultural heritage is certainly what children need so they get their sense of identity and belonging and grasp some form of understanding about the greater things in Life, the greater scheme of things that span the seen and the unseen, without adults tampering with it, getting all metaphysical and complicating it like only we know how.

By the way, I didn't grow up within an overzealous Christian family but my mum made sure we would attend church at least once a month. I was christened as a baby and when I was about 9 years old followed catechism, a weekly hour-long religious education syllabus provided by the local priest or his aide as a way to prepare us kids for catholic communion.

ibid.

To be honest, I can't remember a thing from my religious classes. Most of all though, what left a lasting impression on me and provided me with the tools that in turn helped develop my curiosity in God and the Universe, my spirituality, my critique, my imagination also, and the on-going willingness to find out more were those illustrated books that I had got from my parents and other relatives throughout my childhood. They were almost as visually-pleasing as The Biggest Story and they sure left an impact.

Richly-illustrated, graphics-driven, full-page decorative, symbology-strong children's books like The Biggest Story are bound to appeal to the young and the less so. They are the most enticing introduction to the Bible, a book that needs no introduction and yet that is daunting for a non-practicing Christian to open, or for a curious non-believer or the member of a different faith. Learning and personal development should be fun and visual appeal will facilitate it.

Limited edition 6" x 8" 'Ascension' print, ibid.


The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden, by Kevin DeYoung and illustrated by Don Clark, was published by Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois in 2015, 132 pages. Kevin is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan. He serves as a council member at the Gospel Coalition, as Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and is a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Don is an artist and the cofounder of Invisible Creature, a widely respected and award-winning design studio based in Seattle, WA. The book is available to purchase from Invisible Creature and Amazon. Don't miss out on the free 25-page PDF preview!

ibid.

"The Biggest Story is a delight to the eyes, ears and hearts of its readers. With rich illustrations and even richer text, the biggest and best story is presented in all of its vivid colors - every dark shade and every bright tone. Parent and child alike will feel the ache of the fallenness of human nature and the comfort of an always-faithful God. From our family to yours, we wholeheartedly commend this book!" - Matt and Lauren Chandler 

7 Sep 2016

Political Correctness: Weapon of White Destruction

Over the last 30 years or so, political correctness has seeped in, crept up, infiltrated every corner of our public and private lives. It was that dashing yet slightly overdone, uninvited guest that showed up with the RSVP card from the invited guest. It had all the credentials, wore all the bells and whistles, and most importantly was chaperoned by The Establishment, whose premise was/ is to make us citizens more polished and inclusive and thoughtful and tolerant. Boy, did that sound good to anyone willing to embark on a little journey of self-discovery and self-empowerment! So we allowed the thing in. It acted politely at first, obliged to the petits-fours and family photos in our living rooms, but it remained nonetheless focussed on its mission. It talked to us but it wasn't long before it was talking at us, yet convincingly enough: it made sense and we bought into the spiel.

Installation by Joschi Herczeg and Daniele Kaehr

Institutions and the mainstream media have purported the Establishment's social engineering programme, inspired by PR spin doctor Edward Bernays, or by pseudo sciences like the controversial NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and other mind control programmes aimed at channeling political correctness into us and make us more docile and acceptant of the borderless, multicultural, disempowered, disindustrialised, state-controlled, libertarian, UN Agenda 21-compliant One World end game. To this end, PC has morphed our behaviour, conversations, discourse, observations and thoughts, discreetly and politely at first before making itself compulsory and unavoidable. In a nutshell, you must embrace political correctness in order to align with the redefined societal values and be accepted.

Political correctness goes beyond the news channels and delves deep into the arcanes of power, reframing the mindset of the workforce within public institutions and private companies. The Common Purpose programme in Britain is one such example. In the USA, the controversial Common Core is a diktat from the U.S. Department of Education that is, for instance, instilling new computational methods that defy logic and common sense.

By exerting a paradigm shift, political correctness was/ is meant to change us. It got entangled with our value system, it struck where it hurts: family, race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, education, religion, politics, and communication strategies. It decided on how we were supposed to think and act. The leftist, feminist, family-hostile agenda has had a field day with PC. If you crave examples, The Guardian and The Huffington Post are two models of political correctness that jump up my nose like a bad case of hay fever.

Kay Francis in Mandalay (1934), pict source

Political correctness was never meant to be politically correct. As a result, its divisive tactics aimed at the silent majority ended up overstepping the mark, outlasting its stay and forcing itself onto the very fabric of our Western societies like a blob of bubble-gum stuck to a shoe. A welcomed intrusion at first that forced itself into the collective psyche under the guise of promoting fairness and equalitarianism and giving a voice to the oppressed, it ended up gaffing and offensive. For the PC brigade had waged a war on the hard-working traditional white middle-class families, labelling them unfair, supremacist, bigot, racist, privileged, educated, sexist, homophobic, anti-feminist, and/ or fat-intolerant... Just tick the boxes and add to the list! And let's not get started on those micro-aggressions...

Blank it out at your peril, yet we have now reached a peak and might be on the verge of blowing a fuse. Early on in his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has blasted political correctness. He set a precedence for he managed to overrule the sacro-sanctity of mainstream media and get his message across to the American voters in ways that bypass the mainstream media altogether who had point blank hailed him a racist and a bigot.

The good news is that the aura - the taboo even - surrounding political correctness is fracturing down. Not down the mainstream but upstream thanks to the likes of WikiLeaks, Breitbart News, Infowars, UK Column, Nigel Farage, Anne Marie Waters and countless alternative journalists, writers, broadcasters, political activists, free thinkers and whistleblowers who are daring to question global governance and enjoin us to reclaim our Western identity, our national borders, our cultural heritage, our traditional Christian family values, our freedom of speech, and good old common sense. Governments are stepping up legislation in a view to control freedom of speech and clamp down any form of dissent that goes against the grain. Now it is all up to us whether we keep playing the recorded tune or finally get our word out.


Further Resources:

Below are a few 'populist' personalities and alternative information channels that rock the (Establishment) boat and may be described as not politically correct per se: -

 Further Reading (in the context of current geopolitics):

19 Aug 2016

Europe's Bogus Green Economy Leaves a Trail of Destruction

If you believe that doing the right thing for the environment is to follow governmental advice and feed wood pellets to your pellet stove, you are buying yet another corporate lie they sold you! Screech to a halt right here and ditch the pellets while I spill the beans...

Forest-based biomass is no panacea. Rather it is an ecological disaster disguised as 'sustainable' replacement to fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) and nuclear energy by our governing puppets. Let me be clear about this: by buying wood pellets, Europeans are contributing to the catastrophic deforestation of Europe, Canada, Brazil and southeastern America, and the utter destruction of (mostly) untouched primeval natural habitats. Besides biofuels are also responsible for Indonesia's vast deforestation, in which case the lowland tropical forests are being eradicated to make way for palm oil monocultures (for bioethanol).

'Struggle Between Heaven and Earth', Mount Rarau, Romania, by Robert U., via National Geographic

Back to the West, not only are mature trees chainsawed en masse in order to produce virgin lumber pellets, but every wildlife component of the woodland is affected too: the undergrowth, flora and fauna, not to mention soil erosion, aquifer and marsh disruptions. Road infrastructures, lumber mills and processing plants effect the landscape further, totally transforming it beyond recognition. And from there onwards is an open-door policy for further looting of natural resources under all its guises and the transformation of natural woodlands into man-made wastelands and monocultures.

"... the benefits of biomass burning for carbon emissions may be bogus, while its consequences for forest ecology are becoming all too evident. The threat to the continent's forests is big and immediate." - Fred Pearce, Up in Flames

To put it simply, woody biomass is Europe's own legalised EU-funded Borneo jungle disaster right on our doorstep - or a few hundreds miles away, depending on where we live. The demand for biomass was engineered by Big Corporate in collusion with governments under the thinly-veiled green revolution nonsense purported by Agenda 21, Al Gore and consorts, in a way that has nothing to do with ecology. It accelerates further the destruction of our planet via lucrative bogus schemes. This is nothing but a big bucks ecological disaster!

Saruman's oeuvre? Enviva facility in Ahoskie, North Carolina (US), supplies Drax power plant (UK)

Prime ancient trees are being felled in places like France's Cévennes, Slovakia's Poloniny National Park, and the Carpathian old-growth forests of Romania all the way to Poland. Likewise across the Atlantic, North Carolina wetland and hardwood forests are reduced to those moulded, compacted sawdust pellets that are then shipped all the way to Europe to produce energy. According to Fred Pearce who conducted research on the wastefulness of biomass, 'Almost half of wood harvested in the EU is now used for energy, while 60 per cent of the renewable energy is generated by biomass burning for electricity and heating. It supplies about five per cent of EU energy needs.' The figures add up to an ecological disaster!

"... this sector [Southeastern US] has been driving the destructuion of wetland forests and conversion of hardwood forests into pine plantations in an area that has already lost most of its unique wetland hardwood forests." - EU Bioenergy

The logged trees are trucked to the plants to be processed: dewatered and pulverised to sawdust - yes to sawdust - then compacted to a paste - yes to a paste - and spewed out into pellets. The process is wasteful, CO2-intensive, and therefore an aggravating factor to climate change. Thus how governments justify biomass as sustainable is beyond me. Wood as renewable energy is another idiosyncrasy because clear-cut old-growth (i.e. the chopping down of secular trees) contradicts the very notion of renewability, itself skewered under a short-term fast-turnaround natural-resource-intensive model that the industry operates under.

Photography by David Marcu (Romania), via Unsplash

This makes UK's Department of Energy and Climate Change and France's Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (to name just two) farcical by name and by nature since they are indeed, like other fellow EU member states - and in compliance with EU's bonkers legislation on renewable energy - to be held accountable (alongside the EU technocrats) for the destruction of European and Pan-American forests.

"Using forests to produce energy is like pouring gasoline to put out a fire." - Larry Edwards, Greenpeace

Meanwhile resilient yet vulnerable protected ecosystems that have survived to this day are already or soon-to-be getting loggers' attention, and this is bad news. The 8,000-year-old Białowieża Forest stretching down the border between Poland and Belarus is Europe's very last primeval European forest, and home to the European bison and a plethora of remarkable pedunculate oaks - some of which have even been individually named as if they were pets. Yet despite its UNESCO World Heritage protection, the forest is under threat:-

"The property protects a diverse and rich wildlife of which 59 mammal species, over 250 bird, 13 amphibian, 7 reptile and over 12,000 invertebrate species. The iconic symbol of the property is the European Bison: approximately 900 individuals in the whole property which make almost 25% of the total world’s population and over 30% of free-living animals. " - UNESCO 

Don't fall prey to governmental garb, they're the ones promoting the destruction of our woodlands! Do yourself and the Earth a favour: ditch woody biomass and stay away from the catchment area of power plants fuelled by such! Spread the word around and share this article.


Further Resources:

13 Aug 2016

Driving Motown Back on Track

Detroit's road to recovery will need more than a Berry Gordy song and the pep-talk speech of a presidential candidate but big things start small. Detroit stands forlornly like a forcefully doomed industrial Gotham and has become a purveyor of choice to the Urbex back catalogue.

Once hailed as Motor City, the Michigan automobile heartland revolutionarily put wheels on America and made it mobile and packed its car radios full of smoochy love songs that engendered the next generation of Americans. But the city has long lost its manufacturing panache. Trouble crept up in the late 1950s with the closing down of the Packard Motor Company, already a sign of the restructuring automobile sector, and trouble never left town. Detroit has now become the stuff of nightmares: a major redundant ghost city potholed in limbo, lumbered with high unemployment and poverty rates slammed against a high exodus rate, resulting in thousands of empty, unsaleable private properties and public amenities crumbling away with neglect and the passing of time.

Flower House Detroit installation, 16-18th October 2015

It is difficult for someone like me to remain indifferent to the human, economic and historical tragedy of a city like Detroit. By the same token, it would be easy for most to look away and drive past and write it off with the strike of a pen, which is exactly what has already been done when the city declared itself bankrupt in July 2013. Yet rather than look at it as a town doomed to decay further, some - mainly artists and visionary entrepreneurs - see it as a sleeping giant waiting to be jump-started back to life, with sorry looks, decrepit figure and raw talent to be capitalised upon.

In the political realm, it would be easier for a presidential candidate to bypass Detroit and aim for sunnier climes and shinier streets than chance stopping over to address an audience of would-be voters in a once Democratic, Trade Union-led, working-class stronghold. You would also have to pen a speech - because in its current state of abandonment, Detroit would indeed require a tailored speech. Donald Trump and his VP acolyte Mike Pence hit the brakes nonetheless and stepped in. The Republican candidate never shies away from a challenge and his speech in Detroit was invigorating and well received. It stated the stats and packed the punches. But above all, it put Detroit firmly back on the (road)map. Trump believes in Making America Great Again (his motto!) and with employment his utmost priority, as with Americanism over globalism, the billionaire businessman aims to address full-on the rigged economy that has laid off American manufacturing in its swathes, and he has vowed that the renaissance shall start in Detroit.

Flower House Detroit ibid.

I believe in purpose, I believe in work. I believe in a country that is industrious and autonomous, with a strong economy, and relies on homegrown: strong agriculture and manufacturing base. I believe in a government that is non-intrusive and empowers its citizens through free enterprise and the spirit that goes with it. I believe in minimal bureaucracy and lighter taxes. I believe in hope and faith and dream and opportunity and feasibility for all. I believe in quality education and those good old-fashioned Christian family values. I also believe in Law and Order and national sovereignty. Detroit, America and the West at large have long been forced to relinquish what used to make them functional and prosperous, and there they are now - to different degrees - shadows of their former selves.

Like Mr. Trump I have faith and refuse to accept what current governances are forcing us to accept as inevitable: widespread unemployment, low-paid ungratifying jobs, large-scale imports, foreign takeover of national ressources and assets, warmongering politics and meddling into the Middle East affairs, and redundancy of talent and creativity in order to fit the tight uncomfortable mould that we are being forced into by the oligarchs. I believe that Detroit can and will resurrect under a constructive, populist, work-centric governance. And I might as well say it with flowers... because big things start small.

Flower House Detroit ibid.

14 Jul 2016

The Dawn of the European Superstate is our Doom

If you are a world supremacist wannabe looking to build a superstate, look no further than the European Union for inspiration. In order to construct the European Union behemoth, warts et al, you have to deconstruct each and every country that is a component of the so-called unity. To achieve this, you need to deconstruct national sovereignty in order to construct the so-called European sovereignty, an unelected sovereignty deeply entrenched into the Agenda 21 principles. Welcome to the globalist dystopia that is being put in place!

'Athena', fantasy art by Cynthia Sheppard

First off, in order to deconstruct national sovereignty you need to tone down national identity. Then amalgamate national pride and patriotism with fascism and racism, which has been going on in France and elsewhere stealthily for the last 35 years. This is key to undermining the strength of a nation. Once national pride has been cleverly associated with fascism, it is put down, and the orchestrated erosion of national values triggers an open-door policy for imports (goods, services and investments, hence cash-flow). The same applies to people (mass immigration), ethics, views and politics that get unified under a fake right/ left, right/ wrong, rich/ poor, black/ white paradigm. Alongside this, in order to construct a European unity, you need to deconstruct unity at its cellular level (family unity, race unity, national unity, etc.).

For European unity to exist under the globalist model, expect no elevation of spirits and values and quality of life. Expect no flourishing prospects in terms of wealth and prosperity, education, employment, trade, industry or philosophy. Expect the exact opposite. Any sensible individual capable of reflecting upon current affairs, will have realised by now that each of the countries that make up Europe is in serious trouble. I acquiesce to this with all my while, having lived in the thick of the 'Union' all of my life, and long enough to realise that things are not adding up in favour of growth, but in favour of ungrowth. We Europeans live its absurdities with every breath we take. You will therefore have to excuse our dulling joie de vivre...

'Momentum' by ibid.

Distractions might take the unguarded off course, as for instance with the Anti-Brexit millennials who took to the streets of Britain on the aftermath of the referendum berating the 'old white people' that they wish would die, including - I imagine - their grandparents? But let's not be fazed; Paul Joseph Watson got it debunked for us in less time than it takes for a pop song to play.

Socialism, otherwise known as the Liberal left, the Democrats - or in more gauche terms as Tony Blair's New Labour - have made Europe their hotbed. And wherever socialism goes, ungrowth follows, all under this forced collectivism and communitarianism, multi-culturalism and other '-isms' and chasms that the individual is forced to surrender to... Here are a few examples:-

  • Private liberties are being eroded.
  • Political correctness paralyses free speech and makes us all potential suspects; it prevents politicians and other people in the public eye from expressing themselves without having to justify a word in lengthy ways.
  • Burdening through over-taxation, over-bureaucratic nonsense, over-politicisation of public and private life with our puppet governments at work dismantling the democratic values of the Republic, so we are falling each day further down into state-controlled economy, which itself is at the mercy of global elites like the divine (deviant) George Soros.
  • Biased media and institutions bought out by the corporate elite.
  • The over-interference of the state into our everyday lives through all sorts of crazy legislation is meant to break our spirits and especially spirit of enterprise and financial independence.
  • Debt-ridden nations, directly or indirectly selling off their 'family jewels'. (Examples in France: Toulouse airport, PSG football club, Alstom Energy, Peugeot cars, Hôtel de Crillon (Paris), Gevrey-Chambertin château and vineyard). Our heritage is being sold off!
  • Meanwhile rampant unemployment, with our shipyards, foundries and traditional manufacturing industries relocated to the Far East.
  • Open-border policy for a tsunami of unregulated uncontrolled migration that pours into every nook and cranny of Europe, tipping the balance further for costly unproductivity to replace ROI productivity to channel passive consumerism! 
  • Wahey, it looks like we are truly being snookered!

'Libra' by ibid.

The European Union is a socio-economic lab, a model in the making that is being used to be carbon-copied to other select parts of the world, namely Western economies, in order to collapse them and therefore rewrite history.

What is happening to Europe is a cautionary tale for the USA. Other there, you need look no further than your current President as a living exemple busy undoing the moral values and work ethics of the working classes in order to feed the Welfare State, tentacular federal agency aid programmes and an increasing federal policing of regular tax-paying citizens, through sophisticated centralised surveillance systems (by whichever invasion of privacy they might operate under, down to smart meters and biotechs) and other ways of interference. At this point, it is offensive to turn a blind eye to what is really going on in the West right now.

"The goal of socialism is communism." - Vladimir Lenin
"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill
"Shattering the myth that poverty is the fault of the poor and a generous benefit system, [...] show that the blame lies with the massive social and economic upheaval that has shifted power from the workforce to corporations and swelled the ranks of the working poor, a group increasingly at the mercy of low-pay, zero-hour contracts and downward social mobility." - Breadline Britain: The Rise of Mass Poverty (review)

Further Resources:

9 Jul 2016

Shirley Baker: Snapping the Ordinary to Write Local History

Of my 16 years living and working in Manchester, England, my biggest regret is to have taken hardly any photos of the city itself, so caught up was I in my own life, and whenever I had a moment to snap away, it would be outside the city boundaries, down the scenic coast, up the Lakes, a nature preserve or a quaint photogenic Peak District village. Manchester didn't come to mind because I lived there, and I was of the opinion back then that photography had to be escapism from everyday life.

'Two Girls Swing on a Lamp Post', Hulme, 1965, photography by Shirley Baker, via The Photographers' Gallery

Thankfully some talented - yet unsung - individuals like Shirley Baker (1932-2014) have meticulously reported back from the nitty-gritty of the frontline. For it would be a great loss to local historians if the photography-enclined had all overlooked Manchester the way I did because then the fast-changing socio-economic fabric of this industrious mill city and its industrial demise followed by its reinvention as a service- and leisure-driven metropolis wouldn't have been captured and immortalised in this poignant visual exactitude that words fail to transcribe.

"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." - Edward Hopper

Shirley Baker got late recognition in life for her work as a street photographer and photojournalist of the mundane, snapping street scenes, capturing life as it occurs, spontaneously, lived by the ordinary folks, not the celebs, not the royals, not the captains of industry. She was her own Robert Doisneau and Henri-Cartier Bresson, the latter she admired. She made it to the broadsheets (The Guardian and The Telegraph) obituaries when she sadly passed away, which is - I guess - a form of posthumous recognition of her art and talent.

'Women and Young girls out in the Street', Hulme, July 1965, ibid.

Meanwhile I am looking up to the Mancunians (the inhabitants of Manchester), who since the inception of the Industrial Revolution, from the rising of Cottonopolis to the post-industrial cultural errances of Madchester and beyond, have had to adapt to an ever-changing physical, social and financial landscape and show resilience, acceptance and adaptability to conditions forced upon them, and ultimately turn away from despondency, and turn adversity into opportunity in order to survive the transformation and earn a living within a reconfigured, unrecognisable city. I would sum it up this way: -

Manchester is - despite itself - a fascinating social laboratory and an architectural experiment that has explored - and keeps exploring - the good, the bad and the ugly. 

One of my personal observations that resulted into my 202-page University research paper about land planning management programmes in post-WWII Manchester, is how historically the northern city has been treating history: ruthlessly. This was accomplished along the years in a series of high-profile public, private and mixed land grabs and compulsory purchases repurposed as redevelopments, some of which badly needed (the slum clearances) and others of a more questionable nature. Redevelopments were/ are not solely limited to Manchester, for the blueprint was/ is applied to other major cities and their satellite towns.

As unconventional as I may sound, I  believe this is the way that Britain as a socio-economic collective deals with the past, and how this ruthlessness helps it move on. The nation refuses to dwell on the past too long for it refuses to become complacent and dictated to by nostalgia. It does however boast 500,000 Grade I and Grade II listed buildings, fondly and meticulously preserve traditions and memories (through, for instance, extensively-documented WWI and WWII commemorations, and lavish Royal protocoles), painstakingly curate ancient artefacts into museum collections, and document the past via specialist research and education institutes.

'Young Girls playing in the Street', Hulme, 1965, ibid.


Yet at the same time the nation's history shows how quick it is at making a clean slate out of, not just a couple of old buildings at a time, but large swathes of land, several streets at a time, that have been deemed ripe for redevelopment by a clique of office suits removed from life on the front line.

These drastic changes occur at the expense of the local communities that keep getting fractured, both externally and then internally, and lose their cohesion and identity, as the wards face their redundancy and economic fragility head on and their weakened state attracts social underdogs and castaways (drop-outs, thugs, drug dealers), who drag the wards down further through a climate of fear, before the bulldozers move in. The clearance of old housing stock started in the 1930s and resumed after WWII. Between 1955 and 1975, some 1.3 million homes were demolished nationwide to make way for modern accommodation with comfort and sanitation. However those came at a cost:-

"(...) many of the people lived in dreadful conditions and their houses had to be pulled down. Then of course, when they built up the new stuff, it wasn’t very long before they pulled all that down too.”- Shirley Baker

Let's bear in mind that Britain has been ruthlessly quick at wiping out its heavy industry and traditional manufacturing base over the last sixty years, leaving only a few traces here and there of its industrial past. And then the socio-economics that are linked to those sectors of employment have too been obliterated. In this 'sink or swim' environment, unless the locals move away altogether or retrain and relearn (which is not always possible), they become casualties, and long-term unemployment a fatality. Alvin Toffler's Future Shock springs to mind.

'Cycle Salesman', Hulme, 1965, via BBC

By making that clean slate, government officials, financiers, investors, economists, land planners, property developers, each contribute in effect, to directly or indirectly wipe out the architecture, culture, social fabric, heritage, legacy that root in the communities. The blue-collar workers, or what is left of them, are the social demographic most likely to be displaced within the city: the now-redundant factory workers and miners and their families, now either essentially workless and put under the patronage of the State through total Welfare dependency programmes for subsistence, or they take that post-industrial leap into unskilled low-paid service jobs, joining the ranks of the working poor.

"I cannot claim that my photographs represent anything other than a few wisps teased from some of the countless threads that form the intricate tapestry of our lives.” - Shirley Baker

On my last visit to Manchester 21 months ago with my mum, we drove through parts of East Manchester (namely Ancoats, Ardwick, Beswick, Gorton, Openshaw and Denton) and blimey, did I struggle to recognise anything! The last time I had driven down those areas had only been five years prior, in 2009... It seemed that what was left of the old industry-related (Victorian mills, depots, warehouses, sheds, traditional two-up two-down terraced houses and their end-terrace corner shops, workers clubs, stores, picture houses, small pubs, local banking institutions, etc.) had made way for sprawling housing estates, modernist tower blocks, supermarkets, shopping precincts, leisure centres, brand new roads and tram lines. I did not spot one major factory building still standing, apart fom the iconic Daisy Mill (now too due to be demolished!). The odd Victorian pub at a corner of Ashton Old Road or Ashton New Road woud stand out as both the only tangible, significant landmark and witness of a bygone era. Everything else had been flattened out, reworked and retuned in a tabula rasa exercise that has been radically transforming those areas since the 1950s, first off as part of the extensive post-war slum clearance programme.

As an aside, I must point out that the reworked cityscape looks bland and non-descript, like one long stretch of identikit suburbia, punctuated with tower blocks, mile upon mile, and the end result looks - dare I say - un-British. Indeed it has lost its Britishness. These areas, where locals were once involved in the making of the nation's wealth through their hard relentless unrewarded labour, had remained poor. Yet 50 years ago, the locals were still able to hold a job that helped them raise a family and have a roof above their heads, no matter how humble the abode, without the charity of the State, and making do without resorting to detbt. They owed society nothing and their pride and self-esteem were theirs.

'Ice Cream Van on Terraced Street', July 1965, photography by Shirley Baker, via The Guardian

Nowadays, as contribution to the nation's wealth has been robbed from these people, these former workers' wards/ districts have become wards/ districts of passive - i.e. unproductive - consumerism. This model is replicated throughout our Western societies and this passive consumerism, detached from production and purpose, is the sign of a fractured society. Because having a purpose in life drives you. Having no purpose other than wait for the cheque from the social, while the world is passing you by, is no driver in itself.
 
Meanwhile Shirley's photographic legacy reminds us that there are no rose-tinted ways of viewing poverty, only compassion, through the respectful, non-intrusive intimacy which her eye and lens share with her subjects. It is a social documentary with a heart, the photographic labour of love about a labour force caught in the midst of times achanging.

Looking Back to Look Forward should have been a motto for Council chiefs, private sector entrepreneurs and their acolytes to apply to Manchester for its successful transition into the future, while taking into account the best elements from the past (including values) and the expectations of four generations of the population (from cradle to the grave, if you pardon me the phrase), with the design fitting their lives rather than the other way around. I believe in integrated sensible redevelopment, based on brand-new builds based on classical design, and renovations of designated buildings. I do not believe that redevelopment should require the utter obliteration of the wards.

Further Resources:

Further Reading List - about today's working poor in Britain:

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...