The Lance Armstrong Assent and Fall : The Armstrong Lie. Film Review.

An Opinion

Of the worlds sportsmen and women few have climbed as high and fallen from the pinnacle of their sport than Lance Armstrong.
Relentless in overcoming challenge he propelled his smallish frame forward on a mere cycle to which he was as one. The slender American found dynamics and the science and art of cycling entirely.

The Armstrong Lie. released. 2013 is the Alex Gibney film which in the event of Lance Armstrong facing up to the insurmountable wall of evidence surrounding his career, Gibney produces a Mea Minima Culpa which focuses on his return to the Tour de France in 2009.
It follows his Mea Maxima Culpa which undermined another circus, that of the Vatican which has under served the religion and faith of the many. If you disagree with this opinion then see the Northern Ireland produced film. The film may have had a positive effect in essence.

There are valid elements of confession in the strong and salutary examination made by the filmmaker whose apparent motives, and why question him, was to see the comeback of 2009 as a memorable rising of a Phoenix from the allegations and one of a reformed and contrite Athlete. It’s an odd one. The biometrics of the physique of Lance Armstrong is held in the brain map LA holds himself.
Having gone through the industrial destruction of the cancer virus that began its journey through testicular cancer; it shot through the complex physiology that his body was as a cycling athlete and that he had managed for his cycling climb to the top until it coursed through him internally reaching his brain, he won his life’s greatest battle. An incredible journey he built his own foundation on.

The story of the fight against cancer truly was reinforced by the character shaping that began in his youth. When forced to change by anyone in his space, his orbit of living the dream he replied consciously “You are not my Father” referring to the Father he never knew. He would prescind his life in that little remark. It comes out during interviews and the commentary over the widescreen landscapes travelled in the Tour de France by him from 1999 to 2005. This film accesses virtually all areas but includes only an interior of the coach pre-race in a pep talk without the adulterating peps. It moves swiftly across team mates, doctors, journalists, aggrieved (Landis) competitors with few spectators being involved except as the overseeing duped followers of the sport.

Such is the need to remain with the subject of ‘sporting’ endurance in a single human being, the apparatus around this entire circus colourfully and spectacularly provides a vision of landscape terrain and shining beautiful parts of this planet exposed in the subject matter of slight human beings strung out in a frenetic galloping ant train dissecting areas normally calmed by a Citroen 2CV, camper van or EuroHGV.

One little film balancing act is delightfully, cynically?, thrown in which shows the joyful image familiar when a newspaper needs a wide colourfull image to show it is summer again. In three 5 second foreground shots Alex Gibney offers up 1. The Hay rolls in the cut straw fields. 2. The spread of Sunflowers. 3. The River gently passing under the Viaduct, complete with staged bathers.
The imagery is impressive as is the psychology of Lance Armstrong who in the face of truth starts redefining what truth is or can become. Various takes on score settling are treated within the narrative and the more damaging the less interested or so the assured Lance Armstrong has it, he takes it. He is in a place where his discernment of motive particularly of others is acute and unknown to us and he makes full use of it. To err is human and he happened on most occasions, still probably, to be the smartest guy in the room wherever that room happened to be. Where he erred others erred less brilliantly. So no need for spoiler alerts, Mea Media Culpa.

What he did in reaction to his cancer and the war he won against his enemy is or has not been a false journey. He bounced back and by the example of competing, taking all the treatments, all the injected fluids, all the drugs, to keep going he took them all.
In every encounter with another sufferer he encouraged their fight. He inspired and as one little girl asked why he cycled he off shot appeared to confess for the money which was readily absorbed by the unconcerned youngster.

The awareness of self and limits of the body he attained cannot just have been found in the science that ‘said’ in order to compete in endurance races your blood needs to be capable of delivering oxygen to your muscles in red blood cells and the heart can drive that exchange. Using a commodity which made the red cells prolong the period of functionality and was a simple compound which was emitted from the bodies system without (that was not cleared up if I remember correctly) effect in four hours, then it is equivalent to a fuel stop in Formula 1. Not the actions of a sportsman or woman but that of a competitor, competing against others on the basis they were, those at the sharp end, using the same methods themselves. What stood apart was his urge to do it while knowing it was the only way of succeeding in this endurance sport, for which he had mastered his body and will into becoming the best.

He had not reckoned until he reached the top, the perverse sacrifices needed to prove himself and it became clear when it was that way or no way, he took himself over the line of competition ethics to prove something to himself and others despite the toll it would take. As someone who began with the thought of winning fairly delivering just reward, he had yet to be put in a situation were to win, to reach the very top he would have to sacrifice a part of himself, a self marker, one perhaps he had not fully controlled in his formative years due to his own lack of clarity of who he was within his circle. Despite that drawback he kicked on remarkably.
What we have to recognise is the punishment of endurance still exists, the limits mental and physical are in the territory of endeavor stretched with or without the adulterations. The miles, the mind play, the recklessness, the fight, the single-mindedness, sheer will, stamina and each daily focus had to take place in the heat of the day with the world watching on. It must be acknowledged in the face of everything.

Of his return I can’t see a man who has been through the mill trying to give his body a further crack at living abusing that by unintelligent actions. The other absurdity of blood doping where you replaced your exhausted blood with a fresh quantity is quaintly worthy of the finest ridicule in which the French can deliver in gallons. He was very silly when he went to such lengths as confessed.

To compare it to steroids which have a life threatening and prolonged effect on the body is not in the same room.
To cheat is to cheat. That is clear. What we have here is deception on a grand scale. Of self and spectator.

The film is a lesson on individual strength. A contest of will within the self when a experience, of winning competitively with the little old you as the sole instigator; his winning as a cyclist began seriously at aged 16, it becomes a fight amongst those elements of yourself still unshared or formed and making up for the absences, be it father, faith, friendship or whatever deficiency you may call upon. Finding himself capable at a level which secures the future has been enough for that taster to define his approach to most things.

There are greater hill climbs in peoples lives and I believe he has always known that and the only advice he is capable of taking is his own. While the circus involves a lot of viewer acceptance as a ‘fair’ contest and themselves offer it validation it need not become a case of pouring scorn and ingratitude on the bold LA, instead he presents fallibility in many revolutions.

***3 This well edited fascinating documentary. Most archives of news agencies, sports casts, in house footage solidifies and underpins a complex weave of a ‘story’. It opens up wider scrutiny of the motivations and the narrative has in it a non- judgmental investigation given the agreement of access into the return of LA and at the edge of the sporting action, not in it wholly.
For the sports fan and investigative media student as well as the casual viewer interested in an astonishing web of intrigue.
The psychology is impenetrable for all but the machined consultant whose reaction might include merit addiction.
Worth seeing.

John Graham

29 January 2014

Belfast. Northern Ireland.

The Armstrong Lie
Friday 31 January to Thursday 6 February 2014
QFT Queens Film Theatre
University Square

Collateral Damage. A Year ahead.

January is escaping in a slumber. It is taking its frost and climactic damage off in a winters cloak to return when eleven months have passed. To the mountains they went, to Davos, seeking the mandate and the message all were one in search of a better world.

One dramatically different from the daily bipolar optimism in War zones being only conflict zones on their terms.
Elsewhere mediation troops take their foolscaps of heady intelligence into the arenas of material gold or centuries old difference.
For some the mediation is a confrontation of gun warm enemies.
Are the values mediators use theologically based, of an appeal to the accommodation of the creator in the mind of those they face? No because they enter into pragmatic fudge as they have on the subject of monetary investment. Mediators need a depository.
The theologically based care of the Giving as Living is separate from mediation. A theologian gets into the heart and mind by calling on the persons God to guide them, not to enter into a false pact of friendship through heralded brother or sisterhood, repentant and reconciled with a higher authority. No, religious reformers work as it happens through their values. It will form of itself good.
It has good only in mind. Less regarded not the creator but the religious teacher. The mediator has only the opposite in mind so sees no reform and perpetuates numb hearts through concealing reality. Giving is also truth giving, allowing the truth to live.


A Spanish R package.

Earths riches unkept, undiscovered beneath the blanket bombing of prospector enthusiasm was a matter of business at Davos.
The cloth on the tables laid in different rooms, the war mediation, the economic structures, being remarkable similar; business as war or war as business, with hospitality lightly combining a select easy partaking of soul food and hot or cold beverages.
Renewal of optimism – for a shared peace? Aid? Humanitarian survival?
Renewal of optimism – for current account deficit change? In production?
At Davos the split between East and West deficits, the structural amounts lent across state controlled monetary systems, was not the only element challenging the frozen cyclical weakness of growth. It was also the disharmony created by the technological wealth divide. That revolution which has eroded jobs and expanded wealth while depleting incomes. It speaks of disfunction not order.

For both fragility of structural change has become, again, seriously impeding. After change to conventions never paid attention to.
Neither is in a position of strength as new order shapes. So what need they do? Piecemeal peace? Unnatural alliances?
For both they need agree and formulate the essence of different viewpoints and act. Willingly or constrained the outcome is beyond the present tense. Sharpness decides the stringencies. Getting to the nub of the problem is foremost, the closed beginning point.
Closed in the sense it cannot be loosened for discussion. It is were it is that matters not the past.
Brush the inconveniences of truth off to some dusty courtroom and employ the reason of the mediators to wallow in perceived fact and adulterated truth. The truth is fastened in the guilty hands that employ every mechanism to avoid facing it.
Thankfully, internally they must and there they may encounter a change. Their intention should then be to bring it out and allow others to have their burden lifted.
To mediation progress edging forward is about process and however it arrives it comes redressed as the wisest yet.
Listen – to empathise. Say yes – the question can be asked. Schedule – people like timetables and they thrust a schoolroom dynamic into the proceedings as if the return is an adult lesson on how manipulative you were at school and who was Machiavelli anyway.

If only they taught us about our worst selves, about our ensuing evils and the meaning of the values in such as the Bible then we would be conscious of ourselves and other peoples traits and essence. Maybe the fables were the tools used in the past as examples of ourselves in our wrong state. Our trolls are feeding hate we need overturn by recognition of it. Less fairy tale but recognition.

The Schedule set, then there is now a process, all so school like. Reflection is intrinsic. A narrative is allowed and by way becomes part confession and part enabling a gloss to set a table of future actions providing everyone accepts what you are telling is true. A division emerges. Only partial truth seems to resonate here and no evidence or solidity of fact and cross examining is needed to collectively dispose of unwanted hinderance.

After all this is not about the event, this is about exploiting the future. So reflection is random and full of mines that cannot be set foot on. Some sit clothed thinly in a gauze of worn winter coat they have been carrying for a loved one. It’s cuffs are hard and soft with worn caressing for the cloth represents the human being they carry on with them. Left at home the coat will warm in the under stair and the relentless walking into rooms of perpetrators foils and newly accorded truth seekers wain and smell of department store suits and flesh washed in odorless apple freshened water. Tangs of peppermint stray.
Maintaining a contact be it eye or through simulated gesture or word talk. Trust engendering a falsehood of rapport. Empty the pockets of grief and sorrow, soften attitudes and the business begins.

Commonality of purpose is what they require and assuredly it has to be yours that shows a way forward.
Have you accepted the process? Why not? It is yours is it not? Davos is a room in a mountain hilltop with technicalities to work on.
1. The Common Community Concerns on where investment will come from within business.
2. The very high levels of unemployment across capitalized nations.
3. Levels of returns for work, product and pay. Technology growth and realisation.
4. Inequality within states as well as outside between nations.

Whereas the mediators are in the business of framing a future, the fragility of their guidance however flawed is more greatly encumbered by the reality, they know as much as the rest about the future or the settlement of the future goals.
The kingdom or thiefdoms are themselves disintegrating (including the conservatism of almost all religions and a gap of perception the Church chooses not to address) and a quasi politic nue is evolving almost amorphously on streets everywhere a regime becomes too insular and dictatorial.

We have long lived here in the North of Ireland under such tyrannies but in order to resolve those falsehoods we are given as representative agendas such as the ‘Haas talks’ outside the universe of Governments but of either a chief interest, we need to find out who and what the agenda was, no is, it’s origins and originators.
Myths of economies and of races, beliefs and the people themselves will otherwise fashion continued illusion.

As Scotland considers its form, will it produce a Constitution? Will it begin as a start up and disdain monopoly and largesse?
As the Scotland seen from outside, has only small grievances with anyone except its property owners its mediation skills need only be pressed in the art of land recovery. Then it can incorporate its coastlines, offshore resources into the North Sea and the Iceland gap.
Foreboding times are ahead and hopefully independence will arrive. Because the invention of identity is done in detachment the work may invent a model of responsible determination. Part of the foreboding is nature itself, the place as environment within a world of altering life. An optimistic position is its old take on its business sense can go onward also.

John Graham

28 January 2014

Business as Politics

Future Growth Prospects

A View

The idea of growth is the relationship of generational shift in the social structures of accumulation.
In a balance of power between labour and capital government intervenes as a state accountant taking out its own needs to transform the ground of social and our bedrock of community.

SME’s do not export their profits generally though and large corporations do. A fundamental co-operation of the businesses which are interdependent exists however, the latter requiring the breakthrough potential of the former before becoming medium sized and mostly subsumed by larger entities or gathered into trading blocks; think group suppliers, bulk operators buying product,

Enter the Financial Controller, the bean counter at the controls of Government policy.
Here we are given the mantra that we are good to go, that the troubles and the failure to deal with the sustainable needs of community, fit neatly into a Uk or for that matter an island concept.
Greed has occupied both outliers over the same period with approximate relations steering us collectively onto the rocks.
As the Titanic fatality figures told in 2012analysis, the privileged had a far, far greater survival rate but unlike now the children of that disaster had much greater prospects than many children of all nationalities have of being treated equally.
All sentiments and extensions of normalcy are lost to the speed of capitalism; the Titanic sought to exploit the steerage capacity of economic mass movement of the lower classes which financed the larger enterprise. Children are losers across advanced healthcare and learning institutions despite small advances being noted here and there the disadvantages are class based still.

The FC newly in post; I cannot remember how the last one left post, probably reversed into an oncoming juggernaut not seen behind and became caught up in a problem with transformational political agendas. However the new FC describes his analysis and vision to us, commencing when interviewed. “Ach,, well…..” “Well hey…… “. then a lot of monosyllabic selective thorn on the vines stuff …but let the vines grow … and we’ll get out of it spiel, except not in such poetic terms, just “Cars, Houses, Houses, Cars”, more expectations, at the upturn… Whilst failing to see the reality of structuring and false financing being mustered to create this appearance of improvement. He kids you not.

What is overlooked is the hegemony of growth principles, cycles and railroadisation. The latter swings of advancement are not yet encountered, or are slowly metabolising or it may be there already in another form and awaiting the eureka shriek.
No doubt small but significant advances will come with a cavalcade of post justification of intentions being facilitated.
Except rarely is the out working of ideas as straightforward as that, which many business people will attest to.
In terms of present and forward difficulties it should be remembered revolutions are never completed by the revolutionaries.
Business depends on revolution and change which – and this is where the scope of institutional encumbrance roves in – a true vision becomes successful if it is given sanctuary in a plain reflection of having arisen ‘naturally’ from the set of traditional mores of the past. In other words it needs to be related to the familiar and preferably by means of the advancement of past sciences.
Sudden change it seems disturbs the faint hearted or so Governance decrees. Thus frameworks today are softly, softly and policy.

Here the mantra appears to be, “Well, hey…. we’ll carry on and keep the monotheism going and sure if an idea turns up we’ll obviously get a report out very quickly and talk about it until we are co-operating and acting as vexed tribes again.
We’re in the ideas business, other peoples ideas business.

Tim Berners-Lee had the government in mind when he single handed lay wrong footed all efficacy of business and government operations by transforming our access ‘uniformly’ to the knowledge and experiences we share via. www.

Such advances are not eaten bread but transformations of mind sets. Perhaps his rationality and common placed externality was due in no small part to the inclusiveness of the Unitarian belief system he belongs to. In actions he demonstrated.

The plain and ordinary is a grateful baseline, the inevitable new normal for public services and the grand plan is hyped up like the inside out Titanic building. The classic appearances deceive/matter are contestable virtues when it comes to hyping economic growth by creating a shell of an empty storehouse. Indeed after much contestable dithering the denouement arrived?

Build the edifice, the shell first in a form which has ‘signature’ and then fill it up with, if you can find them, acquire them, the supposed artifacts of the story. It is a poor opera. The exhilaration of a thrilling building is absent as can be said about that other early 21st century piece the Causeway Centre.

Ideas seem short on the agenda. One past ‘minister’ said one time we don’t do ideas/vision here. I estimate the reason to be embedded in the Titanic disaster which has included itself in our DNA. Somehow this is less fact and tentative theory than previously it might appear. In fact ideas are plentiful but their robustness can never be truly tested up against the propaganda of the market system which requires inadequate research and funding and development tax relief schemes.
Commerciality, churn and turnaround are business energisers. A lot of businesses are gadget based, leisure based, service driven and the core necessitities of food production, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, logistics are all pushed into disadvantaged and over managed parts of the economic system. Why indeed are these state funded incentives tax breaks common currency? Not hard to figure.

Licenses are granted to exploit our earths resources from dumping waste, incinerating it, to creating aggregates for construction, power extraction via. unsustainable irreversible unproven economically our technologically environmental assets – premiums are paid for patent medicines and primary care while the education system pastes itself onto the global block third level system while neglecting – budgets for third level far exceed lower level expenditure – the development of proper education.

I do however fear for the children in developing nations whose ambitions are to become ‘bankers!’ etc. and whose resolve will be tested by the choices they will face. The connection yet to be made with the turmoil in their countries exploited growth and their

Banks here are no longer indigenous, having made windfalls for past incumbents, glory in a malaise of smoke and mirrors.
Banking failures only serve to magnify the the problems at the heart of the local financial edifice.
Where once there was – and many economists recognise its fundamental place – a ‘cultural patriotism’ manifest in economic affairs at local level – set aside it own era management for present reasoning – it’s exemplar has all but left the building and left the building.

Nama operational banks and corporate banks do business without explanation for write downs and advance polemics given statute by euphemistic apparatus. It must surely have occurred to local government that now is the time, long awaited actually when, with a notional nod to John de Courcy we stratify the Banking system by wresting away from its current owners a major, in all but name already Nationalised Bank and reinstate financial regional control on a basis where lock stock and yes, the practically empty barrel taken on – to include prehistoric IT for upgrade by locals, the buildings and contents and the balance sheets for scrutiny – and real time audit pursued. The local community Bank can frame the auspicious intelligence on the doorstep and be a flannel free zone treating SMEs, investors in community and others in an unperplexing way. Our mindset needs altering to reconfigure the plight we are now in and not only locally. Former ‘giant’ states conversely thought of labour either as an output or input.
Still these conflicts and contradictions reign. The way of dealing with them is to reframe each argument to cancel each other out.

Firstly and finally we need realise our resources are not perpetual but limited and currently unequally held and are ineffienctly harnessed. While we continue to embark on circuitous journeys. Smith probably construed that the eventual stoking of insatiable demand would account for failure of markets to bear the credit.

1690 brought the basic bourgeois narrative of John Locke, continued in balance by his latter follower Adam Smith, where he wrote it is a foundation of freedom for ‘people to own their own bodies and by small extension the labour of their bodies’.
Not the greatest extrapolation of logic but at least the latter developed it a little further in declaring it as ‘the most sacred and inviolable.’

I would perceive the forms of value abridged by Tim Berners-Lee as more insightful and instinctively closer to God that that fore said.

John Graham


9 January 2014

Haas talks September through to December 2013.

An Incomplete Discovery.

A View

Humility is a virtue whereas humiliation is a corruption of the self.

Identity is often sought through ritual and performance. A theatre not of revolt but of recurrence where the ancestral fellowships are recalled and allegiance swore to a tribe or community where it now exists.

In burial fields is found identity. The loss of family, brethren and the past now behind is captured in this last resting place.
Since the pagan burial sites were revered as sacred, as now the places where lives are remembered lie, is in the present.
They exist before and after us.

We revisit them and return to their sacrifices and pay homage to their vision and adversity. No one strand of this concsciousness is the same but it remains equal across all divisions among people.

They are not who they are without this regard. This is a passing culture of identity caught in a timeframe captured on a tombstone. Why is it so difficult to see distinctions and why refer to a brethrens rituals through hatred?
It is often the case these rituals; the mortal explaining themselves through past generations, are seen as a means to humiliate others by their counter cultural perceptions. When they take violence to be a basis for celebration and victory won by the death of many then this is a disposal of their ancestry that degrades the memory of those gone before. It is far removed too often from the purpose of remembrance, individual sacrifice for whatever end being an absolute waste of the gift of life. To remember them and the unchosen who perish in acts such as the Holocaust.

Often and integrally the marches and celebrations are not done in the name of those no longer here but is served up by those that are. There in lies a responsibility.
A responsibility to those who have died and measured their loss against God’s will and the collective body of life as accumulated and measured where we stand.

How the symbols appear as two dimensional material woven of a different thread and holding none of the transcription written in desperation and mistook fortune.
It cannot replace the past or recover its memory. The words long spoken are wrapped in new forms away from their origin.
The field they uncover has been at the plough end and stones removed or left in forgotten limbo.
Where are the markers except within us, that spirit absent from no-one, given to us by unknown wonder is at the heart of us.

Evangelists seem to have discovered the future and cannot wait to profess their vision even though they come not in the name of the Lord but under a doctrine or credo formed as consensus outside of personal belief and inner humility.

When an institution or community trades it’s collectivism for protectionism offered as a small part of a larger enclave then compromises shape outcomes that become ultimately unmanageable and themselves become commmodities.
The G8 in June in Fermanagh was such a gatherIng of the entreaties of state controls and a small part of it became the Haas intervention under the heading of peace building and addressing conflicting issues. Issues of sovereignty, responsibility and accountability.
The intervention became questingly an exercise in document drafting and shaping word forms with no proximity to the contagion present on the outside.
The persistence in continuing with unfinished incomplete truth for state and wider governance and their selfish interests versus the moral and challenging ethical questions ignores the place State and privilege had brought us to.

State and privilege again sat outside while the so called apparts, their designated leaders, projected a harmony of purpose by meeting and kept the articles of their own interests and concealments within a screened off private conclave.

Evangelicism of all forms removes the fulfillment of reading the Bible and testaments of faith from the individual and makes popular the notion that guilt and sin are made alterable by adherence to the guilt associated with sin that can be set aside and no longer a burden given us by God. The burden exists as we are human and no denial through false idols, false self protean role playing amounts to nothing other than an immense misunderstanding of our relation to the creator.

Those who appear to have the capacity to turn the victims into penitent individuals or groups are themselves concealing a betrayal of humanity and their lack of fulfillment of Gods will.

Certainly we are challenged to repair ourselves and mend our relations with others but to ignore the needs of peoples sorrow so as to deny truth is not the answer. The answer is to see others and ourselves as God made us and when the world cares for the truth it is then, to within, to our thoughts on our feelings and need to express our anger, we need turn to the Bible and to the body of the soul. It is an exceptional armoury, stronger than guns or bombs this armoury keeps returning so apparent it manifests in the goodness of the many. Complacency is not in the Bible an acceptable defence instead speaking out on injustices is a prime element of our life’s and journey.
It is there where each of us is tasked and equipped to deal with others shame and not treat them mockingly as components in a contemptible or condemning way.
Matters of justice are harmful in many directions and less harm can be flayed in ridding us of unconvincing law formulated through so called expediency and to mock others rather than repair.

Attachments of faith through division are a centripetal exposition of worshipful fellowship which instead requires the opposite.
The centrifugal realisation that religion cannot divide as it converges on the same spirit. It has a core and central completeness.

It is apparent here as elsewhere except here it has become the most examined example as written outputs accumulate.
This short piece but another examination.

The circumstances of identity solving; perplexingly identity is woven still in myth and cods wallop history notation, despite the close surgical microscopic operations and chapters of loose political place setting is no way a route to enabling truth to be received and understanding, to become knowledge, taking us to unknown places.

That fear exists but it has in its place strength to have us reach beyond ourselves and have us embrace all cultures equally
as humans possessing life.

John Graham


6 January 2013