Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
The TSA hasn't learned anything from the pre-holiday outrage from flying citizenry. Just getting worse, and more surreal.
Gasland won a prize at Sundance; Ruffalo has been promoting the film and has been vocal about the envirnomental issues concerning the dangers ("alleged" dangers, the article notes) of natural gas drilling. Article also notes that an organization called "Energy in Depth" a "pro-oil and gas organisation" has countered the movie's message, citing "factual inaccuracies."
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Molecular biologist on the dangers of pornoscanners - Boing Boing
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Last night I posted an item about a private security firm "taking over" the town of Hardin, Montana: Are you SURE it's the police?
That post caused "Sherlock" to leave the following comment:
The myth of the APF taking over the town of Hardin, Montana, won't die.So I looked up some things, starting with Sherlock's profile and links to his blogs. Nothing on the profile, and one link to a blog seems to be dead, the other leads to a blog with no posts.
On September 10th, the day that the arrangements for career California con man, "Michael Hilton," became known, I exposed him as a fraud, proving that most of his contentions were transparent lies and that his corporate "history" was a fabrication.
Despite making half a dozen phone calls and sending 18 e-mails with my findings to the regional media in Billings, the AP and the Gazette took another day to demonstrate the slightest skepticism regarding the hoax. For the next two weeks they continued to treat the scam as if it had some element of truth, until after I'd sent them and TV station KULR 26 pages of face sheets of breach of contract, recission and unlawful detainer suits brought against Hilton in the two decades plus of his perpetrating scams. I sent two criminal cases as well, though I couldn't tell if they were for this "Michael Hilton" or not. I had also discovered 17 aliases that he'd been using since the '80s.
There were two gaps in the almost endless record of scams in which he was involved. I presumed he had been in jail for those two or three year periods. It turned out I was correct again.
Despite my efforts, the beat reporter from the Gazette, a woman I'd long been trying to get removed from the jail scam beat, actually quit her job of 20 years at the paper to go to "work" for Hilton. He paid her with a Mercedes SUV and probably one of the many bad checks he'd kited around town to a Hardin innkeeper and a Billings lawyer. The MB SUV was repossessed a couple of weeks later.
Alex Jones arrived in Hardin, weeks after I'd blown the cover of the con man and exposed the stupidity of local officials who'd been taken in by him. Anyone with a room temperature I.Q. should not have been taken in by the silly sting, but Alex either was too stupid to see what was happening in front of him, too delusional to be able to distinguish illusion from reality, or he found the fake story too delicious and valuable, in terms of his own ego gratification and unwarranted fame, to abandon it.
Whatever his reasons or shortcomings, The myth has persisted for the last 14 months because people need fables when truth doesn't serve their purposes.
"Octopusconfessional" should be ashamed of itself, as should Regan Lee for continuing to perpetuate these myths, but both have a lot of company. There's hardly a day goes by when I do not receive still another breathless, often "eyewitness" account regarding the supposed existence of something that never actually happened.
"You could look it up," as they say.
I did find this however on The United American Freedom Foundation site.
(There are other sites and comments about this on various message boards; this is one example of the tumble fest down the rabbit hole of this hoax-not-a-hoax.) Frankly, I'm confused; the company does seem to be real, what their motives are is murky, and, while they may or may not have been heavy handed Blackwater Monsanto owned Xe thug types or just some money making scam, they seem to have appeared as real cop like authorities.
But then, there are plenty of links and items pointing to the melodrama of the hoax idea. Which, here at Octopus Confessional and its tentacled array of blogs, is a moot point, since it's all part of the trickster tweaking that goes in para-politics and esoteric realms. It's to be expected: confusion, hoaxes, hoaxes about hoaxes, and all the rest. From a Fortean perspective, this is not unusual at all.
Many military and former CIA officers work for Blackwater or related companies created to divert attention from their bad reputation and make more profit selling their nefarious services-ranging from information and intelligence to infiltration, political lobbying and paramilitary training – for other governments, banks and multinational corporations. According to Scahill, business with multinationals, like Monsanto, Chevron, and financial giants such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank, are channeled through two companies owned by Erik Prince, owner of Blackwater: Total Intelligence Solutions and Terrorism Research Center. These officers and directors share Blackwater.
One of them, Cofer Black, known for his brutality as one of the directors of the CIA, was the one who made contact with Monsanto in 2008 as director of Total Intelligence, entering into the contract with the company to spy on and infiltrate organizations of animal rights activists, anti-GM and other dirty activities of the biotech giant.
The agency appears to be phasing in these new procedures unevenly, leading to frequent confrontations with air travelers. At some airports, passengers are being randomly asked to go through the scanners, while at others, they must all be screened by the machines or by hand. At one airport last week, passengers were both scanned and frisked.
As a result, air travelers aren't sure what to expect when they fly. [italics mine]
It's not a mistake the procedures are random; the seemingly chaotic nature of the TSA's rule changes is intentional. This is a tactic to ensure that we are kept nervous, anxious, and so, easier to control. The authorities show us, over and over again, that they can do what they want, when they want, and we, the people, never know when things will change. All they want us to know is that we better be prepared to jump when they say jump, and ask, how high. Think of the abuser and his victim: control, things changing on a whim, arbitrary and even silly, meaningless rules that must be followed, without question. If you question, you will be punished. You might be punished anyway, just because.
Many are calling for November 24th to a "National Opt Out Day," in which citizens refuse these screenings. The article wonders if "the timing couldn't be better," by the TSA's decision to implement these new, confusing and often conflicting rules. Coming so close to one of the busiest travel times in the U.S., not such a good idea. But this is precisely what the feds want: to instill anxiety, fear and confusion. Frustrations and rebellions are quickly dealt with by a bit of fear mongering, with warnings of terrorism, and a lot of threats in way of fines, interrogations and arrest.
Last year, it was discovered that a private security company, American Police Force, had entered the small town of Hardin, Montana and had assumed the duties of patrolling the town and enforcing laws. APF had originally been contracted to provide security at a detention center near Hardin. However, not long after, residents were answering to them as if they were real law enforcement personnel. APF “officers” were soon driving around in police patrol vehicles, harassing citizens, and acting as if they were truly the authority in Hardin. Only after the independent media, such as Alex Jones’ Infowars, exposed APF did the mercenaries leave Hardin.Encouraging, but Brandon Turbeville, author of the article, warns us not to take any of this casually. These firms have no real authority:
While one can argue that there is a place for private security companies, there is no argument to be made for their assuming duties designated to local police forces. It is important for everyone to remember that private security forces, whether contracted out by the government, businesses, or acting alone, have no jurisdiction. They are not police officers and should not be treated as such.Another point Turbeville makes; these private firms make a lot of money, and their thugs do as well, more so than the police with legal authority. Privilege, money, and the arrogance of the insulated, private realm of hired guns set against the overworked, underpaid men and women who are given authority are the ingredients for disaster.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Cancer surviving flight attendant forced to remove prosthetic br - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC-
When are Americans going to stop putting up with this nonsense? Some are; but the outrage is slow to show itself.
ST. CLAIRSVILLE - If you're in the market for a car, be prepared to prove you are not a terrorist."...or even paying CASH for a car . . . " ?!
The federal government's Red Flags Rule mandates that auto dealers, banks, credit unions and other "creditors" and "financial institutions" take additional steps to prevent identity theft and fraud, beginning Jan. 1. Included in the list of so-called creditors is your family doctor.
Among those steps is determining whether a person applying for financing - or even paying cash for a car - appears on any government watch lists of known or suspected terrorists or terrorist organizations.
As a result, consumers hoping to finance a new or used car, a home or even a major appliance will be required to supply personal information - such as their Social Security number and birth date, as well as the answers to five questions designed to confirm a customer is who they say they are - to the business at the time of the sale. Those questions could include anything from previous addresses and area codes to the names of other members of the consumer's household.
Getting harder to slip a little from that grid.
When I was a teenager, my father became obsessed with the assassination, reading every book on the subject as soon as it came out. I remember a lecture he took me to on the assassination; I don't remember the speaker (a local L.A. television news reporter) and the topic was the cover-up, and how Oswald was a only a patsy.
Back to last night's episode: I wondered about one thing. Ventura interviewed Marina, Oswald's widow, and she said at the time of the assination, she believed that it was her husband who killed Kennedy when the police told her. I understand some of that response; she was very young, new to this country,poor, and married Oswald after knowing him for only six weeks. She was no doubt intimidated by goons and government spooks and the sheer immensity of the fact the president of the United States had just been assassinated. But at that the same time, I wondered why she would believe that her husband was capable of such an act? I am not saying I believe, for one moment, that Oswald was the assassin; I am convinced that Kennedy's assassination (as was his brother's) a plot and Oswald was used. I just found Marina's comment about her acceptance of her husband being capable of murder an interesting one.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
In June of this year I posted on my blog Octopus Confessional, about "Frankenfish" in 'Dr. Evils Mess With Fish':
While many no doubt see this as a good thing, I find it chilling. Maybe I'm just too paranoid in my old age. I love salmon, so who wouldn't want bigger and more? Not me, I don't trust it, and it is so wrong on many levels. The following New York Times article Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table, gives us the happy news about genetically messed with salmon, still to be approved by the FDA.
The developer of the salmon has been trying to get approval for a decade. But the company now seems to have submitted most or all of the data the F.D.A. needs to analyze whether the salmon are safe to eat, nutritionally equivalent to other salmon and safe for the environment, according to government and biotechnology industry officials. A public meeting to discuss the salmon may be held as early as this fall.
This Giant Salmon was developed by the happy sounding titled "AquaBounty Technologies" which raises the Giant Salmon (a mix of the Atlantic, Chinook and pout salmon) in fish farms.
If approved and the Giant Salmon clears various environmental and other hurdles, other genetically modified animals will be offered to us, such as the "enviropig."
The FDA isn't treating the Giant Salmon like food, exactly:
Under a policy announced in 2008, the F.D.A. is regulating genetically engineered animals as if they were veterinary drugs and using the rules for those drugs. And applications for approval of new drugs must be kept confidential by the agency.
Critics say the drug evaluation process does not allow full assessment of the possible environmental impacts of genetically altered animals and also blocks public input.
“There is no opportunity for anyone from the outside to see the data or criticize it,” said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. When consumer groups were invited to discuss biotechnology policy with top F.D.A. officials last month, Ms. Mellon said she warned the officials that approval of the salmon would generate “a firestorm of negative response.”
Some within the infra-structure are well aware of the politics and implications involved. In an understatement to be sure, an individual who wants to remain anonymous said:
Government officials and industry executives say the F.D.A. is moving cautiously on the salmon. “It’s going to be a P. R. issue,” said one government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the issue.
Genetically modified foods do not have to be labeled; consumers apparently don't have the right to know.
Foods must be labeled, it says, only if they are different in their nutritional properties or other characteristics.
Ignoring, among other things, that altering and modifying foods, splicing them with say, glowing fish or spider webs, affects the "nutritional properties."
In a display of spin and topsy turvy thinking, AquaBounty representative Mr. Stotish says he's not against "voluntary labeling" but gee, it's not up to him:
but the matter was not in its hands because it would only be selling fish eggs to fish farms, not grown salmon to the supermarket.
He said the company had submitted data to the F.D.A. showing that its salmon was indistinguishable from nonengineered Atlantic salmon in terms of taste, color, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins and other nutrients.
“Our fish is identical in every measurable way to the traditional food Atlantic salmon,” Mr. Stotish said. “If there’s no material difference, then it would be misleading to require labeling.”
And finally, no need to fear the impact of Giant Salmon on the environment, because all the fish are:
female and sterile, making it impossible for them to mate.
Today's news brings us the following: From 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish
Obama's FDA is regulating genetically engineered salmon, a genetically modified organism (GMO) that is the first of its kind, not as an animal, but as an animal drug. Normally, a veterinary drug would be used for health purposes, but there's no therapeutic benefit associated with jacking up an Atlantic salmon with the genes of a Chinook salmon and the eel-like ocean pout to make it grow twice as fast. On the contrary, genetic engineering increases the salmon's mortality, disease and deformity. So, why would the FDA treat a the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption like a drug? The idea came from the biotech industry. They knew that the FDA's animal drug process would keep companies' "proprietary" information secret, while limiting public participation and downplaying food safety concerns. Genius.
From slide 3; Frankenfish DNA Could Change the Bacteria in Your Gut:
A human study conducted by the UK's Food Standards Agency found that consuming genetically engineered soy can result in "horizontal gene transfer," where the bacteria of the gut takes up the soy's modified DNA. With GMO salmon, the bacteria of our digestive tracks could take up the engineered salmon genes, but the FDA isn't looking into whether this would happen or how it might effect our health.
The FDA's food safety review of GMO salmon consists of collecting data produced by AquaBounty, the company that wants to sell it. Not surprisingly, that data is seriously flawed. * AquaBounty did not always segregate, or even collect, data specific to their AquAdvantage GMO Salmon. And, FDA did not require AquaBounty to produce data in the actual conditions under which the salmon will be commercially produced, so we don't have food safety data on the Panama-raised, triploid, monosex AquAdvantage Salmon that people will be actually be eating if the FDA grants approval. * FDA did not require AquaBounty to show that AquAdvantage and normal salmon were similar when raised under the same conditions. AquaBounty's food safety data for genetically engineered salmon did not have to match data for its control salmon. [For the rest go here.]
Besides the overall bizarro world, surreal nature of all this, along with the greed, is the sheer arrogance of the FDA and others
The FDA notes evidence of "increased frequency of skeletal malformations, and increased prevalence of jaw erosions and multisystemic, focal inflammation" in the tissues of GMO salmon. Most people wouldn't be too surprised to learn that genetic engineering can mess a fish up. What might shock you is that the FDA dismisses these findings as "within the range observed in rapid growth phenotypes of non-genetically engineered Atlantic salmon." [ Slide 9]
At the risk of sounding like a paranoid Tea Party-Bagging Illuminati wacknut, there is a lot to ponder when it comes to greed, arrogance, -- sheer hubris -- and control. Would Dr. Evils and mad politicians go so far as to destroy natural habitats to gain power and profit?:
Two months ago, a copper mine failure in China's TingRiver killed millions of fish. A similar disaster at Pebble Mine could mean the destruction of a quarter of a billion pounds of salmon, curiously, about the same amount of GMO salmon Aqua Bounty hopes to produce. The EPA could stop Pebble Mine through the Clean Water Act but has failed to act. Greenberg writes, "More transgenic fish, less wild fish. You have to scratch your head at a government that's planning that kind of seafood menu for its citizens. Instead of endorsing a risky experiment in genetic salmon modification wouldn't it be better if our leaders protected wild salmon habitat? In the end we'd have just as much fish on our plates and a safer environment to boot." [Full item here.]
You can sign a petition here urging Obama to stop the creation and sale of altered salmon.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The sea lions are thought to have leptospirosis. There are warnings to avoid wet sand, and to not touch the sea lions, dead or alive (which is a given anyway, one would think) as leptospirosis can be transmitted to humans.
A sharp increase in the number of sick and dead California sea lions has been reported along the Oregon Coast in recent weeks, and necropsies conducted on dozens of the animals suggest that many may have died from leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found in a variety of animal species and can be transmitted to humans, said Jim Rice, an Oregon State University scientist who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
"We are now getting calls for multiple sick or dead sea lions daily, which is higher than normal," said Rice, an OSU Marine Mammal Institute researcher who works at the university's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. "The overall number of sea lions also has risen, so it's difficult to compare mortality rates from year to year, but certainly we're seeing an increase in animals that test positive for leptospirosis."Dogs need to be careful too; dog owners are urged to keep their dogs on leashes (which is the law anyway, but good luck with that one, given the number of arrogant dog owners who insist their dog is different, special, and are immune to innate doggy behaviors) :
Dogs can be infected with leptospirosis through contact with stricken seal lions. Rice said coastal visitors should always avoid sea lions on the beach and during outbreaks of leptospirosis should keep their dogs on a leash. The disease can be transmitted by direct contact, or even through contact with damp sand, soil or vegetation contaminated by the urine of infected animals.
Just within the past few days, an item appeared in the news that sea stars (star fish) were washing up on Oregon beaches; I posted about that here.