Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Osama, We Hardly Knew Ye...

“Madmen in power always need a fictitious ‘evil’ enemy to keep the game of war going, and keep the money flowing. Government is only able to grow and become more powerful by scaring the people about an outside enemy that is almost always manufactured and hyped by the government itself.”
Saman Mohammadi
The Excavator
“History would be something extraordinary, if only it were true.” – Tolstoy

I’ll give the the group that bumped off JFK one thing–at least they stuck to their story, flawed though it is, down through the decades.  With the gangland style hit on Osama Bin Ladin the official story has changed so many times one can’t help to question what is going on with it.  Well, for those of us that still practice critical thinking.   

By now, we all are familiar with the yarn.  First there was a big shoot-out at the OK Corral.  Nope, there was only one guy shooting who was easily dispatched, along with two other men.  For such a high profile guy, not much of a security force.  Then the Boogie Man was using women as human shields and they were killed. Oops!  No he wasn’t–only two women were allegedly wounded.  We were told Bin Ladin was shot in resistance.  No, he was shot in the head execution style instead.  His glorious mansion turned out to be a rundown, nondescript, three story cinder block building. His neighbors had no idea he was living there.  Much later we will find out that the burial at sea, attended to according to Muslim tradition is not really a tradition at all and was witnessed by not a single sailor onboard the ship the body was allegedly on.

Not only were the 9/11 attacks one of the most tragic events in American history it was also one of the weirdest.  There is so much going on with it, after a while the mind dulls to the relentless onslaught of particulars, each fact building on another to a huge pyramid of anomalies and seemingly unthinkable incidents.  Everything from cell phones working at over 30,000 feet (impossible) to half a million tons of concrete and steel crashing to the ground with little notice on seismographic markers, the afore mentioned steel frame turning to dust, to the put options being placed on airline stock of the exact hijacked airliners where a reported $100 million dollars were made, the evidence of the transaction located on the hard drives of the computers located in the Twin Towers.  This rolling wreck never seems to stop tumbling.  

I’ve always been fascinated with how quickly they pinned this ghastly crime on Bin Ladin and al-Qaeda within a few hours of the attacks before any investigation started, before the smoke cleared.  And nothing ever changed from that day forward, no matter how much investigating they did.  Years later, when the 9/11 Commission issued it’s report, it was the same story unchanged from the day the tragedy occurred.  The end result was–he’s guilty–that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.  This is similar to Lee Oswald being apprehended within an hour of the assassination with the crime accredited to him which never changed either.  In fact, a signed Dallas Police affidavit lists Oswald as President Kennedy and officer J. D. Tippit’s killer, dated at 1:40 PM that day.  How is that for innocent till proven guilty?

The Beginning of a Legend

At first, Bin Ladin was defined at the mastermind of the attacks.  But as investigative journalist Peter Lance uncovered, the mastermind is really Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. (And there is some weird stuff on this guy.  It was widely reported that KSM was killed in a gun fight with the Pakistani ISI on 9/11/02.  Then he comes back from the dead to be captured after another gun battle in 2003, some six months later.)  However, even in recent years, Osama Bin Ladin is still listed in some recently published books as the mastermind.  Even the movie, Zero Dark Thirty continues in this vein (See a good review HERE).  Some parts of this altered reality never change and keep chugging right along.  

The government’s interaction with Bin Ladin is a long and sorted affair.  Born into the wealthy Bin Ladin family that made their fortune in construction (which ironically included work on the Twin Towers), he later went on to fight the Russians in Afghanistan with the CIA supported Mujahideen.  Gradually he turned against the United States, fearing it was trying to take over the Mideast, and also for its support of Israel.  He became involved with numerous acts of terror throughout the 1990’s directed mainly at the United States.

It begins to get hard to tell what is real and what is not here.  For example, when Bin Ladin was alive he was on the FBI’s most wanted list for a litany of crimes.  However, the 9/11 attacks was not listed as one of those crimes.  Ed Haas, a writer for The Muckraker Report asked FBI official Rex Tomb about that and was told there was no evidence linking Osama Bin Ladin to the crime.  Tomb gave the example that a federal grand jury had indicted Bin Ladin for embassy bombing in 1998.  Evidently, they never did gather any evidence to connect Bin Ladin to the 9/11 attacks. Hence, no mention of the 9/11 crime on their 10 Most Wanted list. If there is no evidence then where is the justification for invading Afghanistan?  Or for that matter, the need to send in a Navy Seal Team to assassinate him years later?  Apparently, some other authority did deem him guilty enough or else this is just one massive behind the scenes machination with the rest of us in the dark.

It could also be a blurring of the lines between portraying a perpetrator as a criminal or as an enemy combatant.  

But other things are wrong too.  Now scrubbed off the FBI’s web site is the reference to Bin Ladin being left handed.  Notice the following picture of Bin Ladin signing a document with his right hand.

Obviously, the FBI should know better than this.  If a guy sitting at his computer surfing the Internet can easily find the discrepancy then they know what is going on.  And I think they do.  Sometimes information is released they know is wrong just to get tongues wagging.  It’s a distraction and it has a tendency to work.  It’s another reminder that the truth is concealed and so compartmentalized that who knows what the truth really is?  It’s all part of the general fiction being told and retold till it morphs into a reality of its own.  It reminds me of the many times the #2 al-Qaeda leader is killed.  It happens about every six months and has been going on for years.  Now really, who would want to be the #2 guy if his life expectancy is only going to be six months?  He’d better get insured!  It’s about as peculiar as hijacking a plane with a box cutter.  A box cutter has a slanted razor blade about an inch long.  You ever heard of anybody carjacking a car with such a thing?  Nope.  But the public is expected to believe this nonsense.

Sleep with the Fishes

By 2011 Osama Bin Ladin had evolved into a cartoon of his former self.  He was the all star boogie man on wanted posters with an enigma all of his own. Where was he and were did he spend his days?  He is missing for years and little is told to the public of his whereabouts.  

And then suddenly, on May 2, 2011 came the news flash–Osama Bin Ladin is declared dead, killed by Navy Seal Team Six.  Bravo!  We are ass kickers once again!  John Wayne salutes us from his heavenly abode.  Over on the winner’s side, the picture of President Obama, slumped in his chair looking petulant from having his golf outing interrupted, huddled with his cabinet watching the event live on TV.  We later find out this gathering was contrived as well with Secretary of State Clinton, her mouth agape in shock and awe.  A poor liar but a good actress it seems.

The fable ambles on.  They dumped the body in the sea.  The body is the prima facie evidence of what occurred–in other words, an irrefutable exhibit of fact.  Down through history when the mighty foe is slain, the body is always put on display.  Here, no such thing happens.  Even the death photos are ordered not to be revealed. 

Even more puzzling is that no autopsy was completed, or at least never admitted to.  Of course, if Bin Ladin was really killed in the manner they say, we know what he died of.  However, a documented and photographed autopsy forms a trail of evidence.  Evidence the government could use to prove their case, which as we found out, they have no desire to.  Evidently, the criminal enterprise that our government has become has grown so great in its hubris, that it no longer considers it necessary to prove anything.  So consumed with their own pride they ask the world to take their word on this.  The word of interminable liars.

When Che Guevara was captured Bolivian army even their authorities did an autopsy of Guevara’s remains which included fingerprints.They photographed him alive and photographed him dead.  Years afterward they even photographed a display of his bones.  They made sure the world knew they got the right guy.  Meanwhile, the government of the United States does not of this. For a major world superpower to transgress like this addresses the political nature of the undertaking and how much they need to conceal.  And what would that be?  Did the Boogie Man really die in December of 2001 as former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Steve Pieczenik said in an amazing series of disclosures in 2012 on the Alex Jones show?  Or did the Seals rush in and kill a doppelgänger?  That is, if they killed anything at all.  What we know of evidence in this affair is fuzzy and strains our notion of common sense.  I guess they learned their lesson with the 26 volumes of collected hearings and evidence the Warren Commission published.  Never again.  Because in those books are stored facts that contradict the Warren Report.

Health Issues Abound

An Egyptian newspaper published Osama Bin Ladin’s obituary in December of 2001.   Whatever happen to him, he was by all accounts suffering from stage five kidney disease, meaning kidney failure, requiring dialysis by July of 2001.  One can live a while having kidney dialysis done three times a week but it needs to be administered by heath care professionals and needs constant attention.  It’s not something a person ever recovers from and is the beginning of the end unless one gets a kidney transplant.  That, and ailing from Marfan syndrome, which is an inherited degenerative disease of the body’s connective tissues, would should have added to the shortening of Bin Ladin’s life.  The official story ignores these important details.  Most books written never mention Bin Ladin’s health issues such as these or any other health related matters.  Take note of how you never see Bin Ladin’s health mentioned in any TV news reports about him.

The Psyop That Never Ends

Did Osama Bin Ladin die on May 2, 2011?  I think not.  Where is the proof?  We have none.  As stated earlier, there is no autopsy, DNA evidence, photographs, basically nothing to verify what happened. Basically no official account, or for that matter, any popular books published on the event mention a single word in regards to Bin Ladin’s health problems. Of course, a cartoon never gets sick does it?  Documents supposedly taken from Bin Ladin’s residence, including letters and other correspondence have been published at the West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.  Little of it is especially revealing and nothing of major operational importance.  It’s a bland read.  In the end, the only tangible proof is from various sources that Bin Ladin was in very bad health leading up to the September attacks and died soon thereafter.

Most likely there never be any independent verification or investigation of what happened.  There will be no grand jury impounded with the task to investigate further.  Our side will have our story and their side will have theirs.  

The truth is out there they say.  That is, if there is truth to be found in a mirage.  

Addendum - #1

Osama or Usama?  The first name swings back and forth.  All declassified government docs have him listed as Usama or UBL.  Notice that mostly everything in popular print has him as Osama.  In speeches by government types, both civilian and military, they pronounce his first name as Osama.  This is reminiscent of Lee Oswald’s SIG-201 file where his middle name is listed as “Henry” and not Harvey.  If Lee Henry Oswald is uncovered in any cable traffic the CIA would know there is a leaker in their midst–false information to find a mole.  

Likewise, the surname goes back and from Laden to Ladin. 

Addendum - #2

Beltane.  Some have suggested skullduggery or synchronicity with Bin Ladin’s death occurring on this ancient high holy day of Wiccans and Pagans.  But it ends on May 1.  Bin Ladin was allegedly killed on May 2.  

Addendum - #3

The box cutters.  It should be pointed out that the sole source of the box cutter story is Barbra Olson on Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon, originally based on two phone calls to her husband Solicitor General, Ted Olson.  Both calls were pitched by the FBI in the trial of the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.  Two calls were tried, none connected they said.  Also, all of the calls made that day from the hijacked airliners were also tossed, except for two.  One of those being the famous Todd Beamer “let’s roll” call.  (Probably due to how useful that slogan was for directing public opinion towards war without end?)  So not only was the FBI calling their former boss Ted Olson a liar but all the family members, over 30 of them, that said they got calls from loved ones aboard the doomed planes as well.  An apparent ongoing mystery of what happened with the phone calls that day.  Remember, the two calls they said got through would be impossible to make if they used cell phones.  

Amazingly, print, TV, and online media till mention the box cutter phantasy as fact. 


Osama Bin Ladin’s death in 2001.

Osama Bin Ladin being right handed.


KSM’s Death.


No evidence on OBL.


Review of Zero Dark Thirty by Jim DiEugenio.


Dr. Stephen Pieczenik’s Bio.

Alleged Osama (Usama) Bin Ladin letters uncovered at his compound.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Getty Images and iStockphoto - A Corporate Marriage Made In Hell

“iStock becomes less profitable with increased success.  As a business model, it’s simply unsustainable: businesses should get more profitable as they grow.”

“Money will not make you happy.”

Kelly Thompson, Sept 9, 2010

The big fish devouring the little fish is as common place in and nature as it is in the annuals of business.  Getty Images purchase of the upstart online stock company, iStockphoto in February of 2006 blazes a familiar trail of corporate takeovers.  However the history of what happened to iStock, it’s contributors and buyers of imagery is a sordid tale of greed, mismanagement and underhandedness that would entice Al Capone to repent of his sins. 

A Bit of History
iStockphoto.com was founded by Bruce Livingstone in May, 2000 as a free stock image site that gradually evolved into a stock agency where the photographers were paid though at very low values.  Over time that grew and provided a profitable return for contributors.  Exclusivity was encouraged and those that complied resulted in additional perks such as quicker approval time for submitted images and a higher royalty rate.  However, many remained independent but at a lower royalty rate.  The arrival of iStockphoto and other online stock sites (Shutterstock, Dreamstime, Fotolia, etc.) launched the Microstock wave that caused many traditional stock image companies to either flounder or go under.  Over time, iStock would add vector illustrations, video and audio clips to the mix of products to sell.  A sense of community developed through iStock’s forum which allowed a free exchange of ideas, help, critiques, complaints,  besides just hanging out with like minded creatives. 

Never the less, Bruce Livingstone’s sale of iStock to Getty in 2006 changed all of that, slowly like it always does, with the frog put in his pot of water on a slow boil.  There was much consternation in the forums with some despairing the change, some positive to the point of being delusional, and some people absolutely clueless as to what happened.  I will never forget the poster that wrote, “They couldn’t beat us, so they joined us.”  Poor soul.  Have working for a company taken over in 2000 and having lost my job as a result of it, I was leery of what waited down the road and was glad in my decision to never go exclusive there.  

And, that wasn’t the only takeover because private equity firm Hellman & Friedman bought Getty/iStockphoto in 2007.  Since then, in October of 2012, The Carlyle Group announced its acquiring of Getty/iStockphoto.  

One Damn Thing After The Other
The first notice of Getty’s new ownership was the arrival of the “controlled vocabulary.”  This came from Getty’s keyword system and allowed for the use of multiple languages to used in image searches.  A lot of grumbling about that since the contributors were tasked with making the changes to their portfolios.  It was a lot of work, especially for those with thousands of images online.  At least it allowed for broader international search coverage and one thing that worked out well.

But other issues ensued over time and clouded over iStock’s sense of independence within a larger corporate structure.  Here is a brief look at the worst of them:

Redeemable Credits.  In the beginning, sales progression for a contributor was shown as film canister graphic.  Copper, bronze, silver, gold, etc.  This original system everybody was happy with.  It gave one a sense of something to work towards to, a viable goal for success.  In 2010 a new system of "redeemable credits" was announced which amounted to selling on a curve.  Now everybody would have to sell a certain amount of images to maintain their royalty percentage.  Few do with the added burdens of a bad search engine, price hikes and massive Getty image content uploads, among other issues so the majority took an income hit.  Many are calling for an end to the RC system but but an update from the General Manager stated that this won’t be happening. This announcement of this new royalty structure by former admin Kelly Thompson was accompanied by his now famous “Money will not make you happy,” quote which did nothing to soften the blow and certainly gained the ire of many.  Even worse, all were told that the original commission model was no longer “sustainable.”  They take an 80% commission from each image sale from the non-exclusives and that is not a viable business model?  Laughable.

Screwed up search.  Complained about for months on the forums, the “best match” image search has been tinkered with so many times buyers can’t find what they need and photographers have seen, for many, a drastic drop in sales.  Management has been hesitant to admit any problem, with GM Rebecca Rockafellar who at first would not admit to it at all.  This is an ongoing issue and apparently, the BM currently favors Getty images first.  Stay tuned.

Price Raises.  Multiple price hikes over time have caused many buyers to look for cheaper images at iStock’s competitors.  The pricey Vetta collection really raised the bar and to be fair, is made up of some very high quality and creative imagery.  But the slogan such as “The designer’s dirty little secret,” is from a bygone era.  Buyers know there are cheaper alternatives at other Microstock sites.  Notice these price hikes were not seen at Getty–but at iStock they were.  

Flood of Getty Images.  This was bound to happen.  Getty took various collections of images from their massive library of content and started flooding them on iStock’s servers.  Naturally, they get a high placement in search.  It annoyed many that these images didn’t have to go through the file inspection process and the original images could remain on their respective web sites–something no iStock exclusive photographer can do–thus cheapening the whole selling point of exclusive content not available elsewhere.  Not to mention how much competition these images bring to iStock contributor’s sales.

The Claw Backs.  In early 2011 there was apparently a surge in credit card fraud.  Some of the bigger selling contributors lost thousands of dollars.  One photographer, Sean Locke reported a loss of over $5,000.  Was he repaid?  No.  Nobody was.  I lost a few bucks myself so I consider my involvement in this very fortunate.  My heart goes out to those that lost their work and income to fraud and my never ending loathing of a company that allowed such a thing to happen through sheer incompetence and their failure to repay those who were robbed.  And to add to the resentment, contributors were promised new security measures in place to prevent this from happening again.  However,  claw back messages are still being sent out but are now vaguely worded so the photographer has no idea what happened.  Was it fraud?  Was it a refund?  Who knows?

Exchange Rate values resulting in questionable payments.  Probably the most confusing and convoluted mess currently ongoing at iStock.  So bad they’ve brought on a forum admin named iStock Lawyer to respond to questions.  Apparently, when the exchange rate goes up compared to the US dollar, the royalty percentage is taken from the original dollar amount, not the increased value, if any.  Also, exchange rates involve a lot of rounding up and down and the exchange rate for international currency is set monthly, not daily.  Various esoteric concepts such as “currency hedging” come into play.  Anyway, contributors have noticed discrepancies in moneys earned and get a lot of meandering answers regarding the issue.  iStock apparently quietly updated the Artist Supplier’s Agreement (ASA) to include rate changes which is in violation of the agreement to issue a 30-day notice for any such changes.  iStock Lawyer’s response?  To simply state that they had been doing this for years so no need for a notice.  Ha!  However, one poster on the forum had an original copy of the ASA showing that a rate change occurred on 9/7/12.  And no 30-day notice was sent out.  

And this is just a bare-bones account of what has gone on since iStock was sold in 2006.  It’s one outrage after the other and I’m shocked that no class action lawsuits have been filed.  The credit card fraud and lack of reimbursement should be reason enough alone for one.  They have proven themselves unworthy of trust and unethical in their deeds.  

The Clueless Among Us
Some people don't seem to get what happened.  Getty did not buy iStockphoto to grow the brand.  No big company does that when it buys a smaller company viewed as a competitor.  They either absorb the company, cut out the fat, sell off the assets or keep it functional but on a tight leash.  That is basically what happened to iStock.  This was evident early on when Getty would place ads for their content on iStock’s web site but no link-back on Getty’s site for iStock's images.  Then with the reduction in royalty rates with the RC system, lack of marketing of iStock’s brand, poor search and the price hikes, so the main marketing point of iStock was devalued.  It was on the leash at that point.  Every decision Getty made, some which looks dull-witted in retrospect, was meant to devalue the iStock brand.  And at that, they succeeded.  They started slowly at first but now it’s full speed ahead.

It was quite telling when the contract was changed from agent to distributor.  An agent has their client’s best interests in mind and acts accordingly.  A distributor doles out the product with no other interest than moving product.  That’s how cold the business relationship is with the content providers.

Many people on the forums complain about Getty management not giving them any respect.  Hey people, it’s Crowd Sourcing.  You work too cheap to be respected.  You are the peasants at the King’s gate with your torches and pitchforks.  That’s why the Redeem Credits model was instituted (with Shutterstock’s subscription model arriving before that) to keep the peasants in their place.  You rose up too high.  Now it’s time to put you back down to where you started.  Where you belong in their eye.

Future Days
Corporations are needed things.  They give us jobs and a good life if principled people are in charge.  They also can lapse into oppressive organizations capable of all kinds of unprincipled deeds.  Many people constantly blame iStockphoto’s management for these awful decisions and the mess it has become, but really, most of the decisions have come down from on high.  iStock management for all intent and purposes no longer exists.  Getty has the majority of the blame for what has happened.  One must wait and see what Carlyle management will do with all of this.  

I suppose there are worse examples of corporate takeover, greed and incompetence besides the Getty mauling of iStockphoto.  But this situation has taken a turn to the dark side so rapidly it’s amazing to watch.  Nobody could have dreamed up such a scenario as has unfolded.  It is as if sociopaths are in charge and no injustice is deemed too outlandish to carry out.  No telling what is coming in the future.  Sit back and see.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Shortwave Number Ladies

One of the more mysterious things to experience while listening to Shortwave radio are the numbers ladies (also known as Number Stations).  Basically, a young (sounding) woman reciting numbers.  I heard them once when I had a shortwave radio.  Some people report excerpts of music and sometimes letters to go along with the numbers.  Despite the international nature of shortwave broadcasts the numbers are usually pronounced in English though people have heard the numbers in other languages.  No government, company, or individual has ever come forward admitting to owning a numbers broadcasting station.  Recently the phenomena made it way into mainstream culture on an episode of the FOX sci-fi show Fringe, which featured a numbers being broadcast on a radio.

So what is going on here? According to the The Conet Project, a group dedicated to studying and recording the number broadcasts this form of coded messages goes back as far as World War I and and prove quiet useful during the Cold War.  It’s still ongoing today because it's a simple and highly effective method of transmitting coded dispatches.  And to whom?  Quite possibly intelligence agencies sending coded messages to their operatives in the field.  Other possibilities include drug traffickers and corporations using number stations for sending out secret communications.  Some people just write it off as geeks playing a hoax.

One good explanation I heard a few years ago come from a caller to the now defunct Rollye James Show.  Now, anybody can call in a talk show and say whatever they want to, but this man seemed to clearly define what is going on.  He made a lot of sense.  Basically, the numbers are related to a page in a book, then a sentence on that page, followed by a word in the sentence and then finally, a letter in the word.  The book could be anything, fiction, non-fiction, the Bible, Moby Dick, whatever. However, both parties must have the same book.  (And you'd better start listening at the top of the broadcast or else the sequencing is thrown off.)

The man ended his call when he stated he had probably said more than he should have and hung up.

If this is true, and even if it isn't, then it's a good source of coding messages that we should all consider as the government grows larger, more tyrannical and more intrusive in our daily lives and business.  A massive surveillance state is underway with equally massive data centers being built to process and document everything we say and do from our phones to our emails.  The 4th Amendment is history and warrantless searches are common place.  It's high time we The People acquire such a coding system to send messages to one another that the government can't read as they grow more oppressive and tyrannical.

Yes, it's a slow method of encryption.  But it works and has been useful for nearly a hundred years.  And you don't need a radio to broadcast numbers.  You can email them, snail mail them, publish them on a web site, read them over Skype or a phone call.  You can most likely find a dozen different ways to use this coding method.  If there is ever a civil war, or a revolution, this might come in very handy.

The Conet Project
To download audio samples go here:

More info on Number Stations:

NSA whistleblower William Binney:  The FBI has the e-mails of nearly all US citizens.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

For all participating in online dating, good luck...

In this case, the free ones, namely Plenty of Fish (PoF) and OkCupid.  I hate to admit I'm on these things and I wonder why I'm there since I never contact or chat with anybody there.  I've found that I wait long enough somebody will contact me and things seem to work out better that way.   I am sure there are plenty of women that are special to somebody but after a year or more you see the same suspects day after day and I assume they are having the same luck I am.  

These sites are straight forward, easy to set up a profile, send and receive emails, search and block any rowdies that might cross one's path.  They are free so expect to see ads on all pages.  Overall, OkCupid has a more sophisticated site design which fits well with what appears to be a higher class of people onboard, at least from my perspective of viewing women's profiles there.  Overall, lots of very attractive women with profiles that are well written and the photographs are generally good.  PoF seems to feature a looser crowd.  Many profiles are either badly written or minimalist in description, accompanied with poor quality images.  Even with the better photos it's not uncommon to see pictures of women proudly hoisting their bottles of beer or grinning away in biker chick garb mounted on Harley's.  A lot of women love displaying their body art too.  In other words, it's sort of like an online version of a trailer park.

Women love to point out that a loser is a male with or without a job that still lives at home with his parents.  This is something not accredited to females and is not considered a social stigma if you are living in Asian culture where everybody stays at home with parents till married.  If fact, loser status seems attached to men and I rarely see women given such a moniker.  

But really–if you are a an attractive woman, with a good education, successful career and all the material goodies that comes with it and you are on a free dating site then you are a loser.  I said it, it's out there...  And there are scads of pretty women listed on these sites with all the features I just listed.  I wonder what they are doing there unless our system of meeting each other is this badly broken.  Or perhaps people are just fed up with the traditional meeting places.  Never the less, the Internet is the biggest meeting place ever invented.

And the pickiness of these women on these free dating sites is something to behold.  These women, most of which in my age group (fifties) are divorced with kids.  Hey, guess what?  You are on a free Internet dating site because you can't meet anybody in real life.  We are all in that situation.  There is no problem with having standards  but don't reject a man for some picky little thing like height or that he has facial hair or no college degree and then whine to your girlfriends about the lack of quality men available.  Some women take this to extremes.  I read a profile of a woman in her early 40's with CP, on crutches and living with her parents, apparently unable to work.  Anyone involving themselves with her would have a host of issues to deal with.  Yet even she had a list of requirements for a man's appearance, bearing and age (in this case, a minimum of 6 years younger than she.)  Her forlorn situation in life did not prevent her from thinning down the herd and narrowing her prospects even further.  

I guess everybody is super special in their own super special way.

I had an incident a while back when I was contacted on Plenty of Fish by a really cool woman, divorced, no kids, 47, and very attractive and youthful in appearance.  She wrote in short snippets with no introduction or name so I didn't think this was going to last long.  She described herself as a "Jesus Freak."  I'm a Christian as well though I don't really ascribe to being a freak and don't know what it means other than a retro phrase from the 60's hippies that were rediscovering Jesus.  The first thing she wanted to know was if I was a regular church goer.  I am not for various reasons which I never related to her, and won't to somebody that is an anonymous Internet no-namer.  I deduced it was a deal breaker and it was.  I got an email a day later wishing me the best as she was looking for a fellow "Jesus Freak" of which I, apparently, am not.  I guess that makes me a second class Christian in her eyes.  At least I told the truth, but as they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

But herein lies the problem.  Many women like this have a romantic vision of the man they want to meet, this quintessential person that doesn't really exist and they actually think they are going to find this man.  Women, and men as well, are quick to write somebody off when even the most minor of flaws are uncovered.  Many profiles start out with, "My ideal man would be..."  There is no ideal!  Their optimism is limitless and I fail to see what their hope is based on.  Even the less attractive have this ambition.  If you are not perfect then why seek perfection in another?  A common defect of the human ego and leads many to delusion.  It will only result in a lack of fulfillment and happiness.  No romantic relationship is perfect so don't be a dolt and actually think you might achieve it.  My parents knew this and they experienced their ups and downs but stayed in love and married 57 years.

One word of caution while being on these sites.  OkCupid in order to find matches for perspective dates has a series of questions to answer.  They are on a variety of topics and some involve very personal sexual matters.  There is a "skip" button to bypass anything you might be uncomfortable with.  However, some of the questions do get far out and I don't think are relationship centered.   I ran across some questions that were similar to data mining.  For example I saw a question in regards to whether or not you carried a concealed weapon other than a gun.  Another question wanted to know if you had attended political rallies or political protests.  I skipped those questions.  Does OkCupid forward this data to any third parties?  Such as Federal third parties?  It is not known but I'm not taking the risk.  One never knows who the trust anymore and who might be fronting for somebody else.  

So for all participating in online dating, good luck.  

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Word on Birth Certificates

With the hubbub surrounding President Obama's birth certificate going on for years back and forth, one birth certificate that hardly ranks a mention is the one belonging to Lee H. Oswald, the alleged assassin of President John Kennedy.

Despite the massive amount of information published in the Warren Commission's 26 volumes of collected evidence and hearings, there is no publication or listing of Oswald's birth certificate.  One would think this is an important piece of evidence in the case to establish for certain who Lee Oswald was and his origins.

There were two types of birth certificates issued in the state of Louisiana at the time of Oswald's birth (10/18/39).  A Certificate of Birth and a Declaration of Birth.  That later was issued for a non-hospital birth with no attending physician.  Meaning, someone born at home or in rural area such as a farm or ranch.  The Certificate of Birth was issued by a hospital and and signed by the attending physician.  In this case, for Oswald's birth, it would be the Old French Hospital in New Orleans.

Here's the tricky part.  In 1978 the FBI released a batch of documents and included in the files was a Declaration of Birth for Lee Harvey Oswald.  Odd, as he is supposed to have been born in a city hospital and not out in the boonies somewhere. Like many issues in this case, it makes no sense.  John Armstrong in his book, Harvey and Lee, states this certificate is an FBI copy of an unknown source document (p.17).  An internet search does not reveal a picture of this particular birth certificate.  None of the JKF online archives such as the Mary Ferrell Foundation or History Matters have an image of this document in the their huge document collections.  At least none that I have found.  If anyone finds one please send me the link.

The end result: The official Certificate of Birth for Lee Harvey Oswald has never been released.

There are other issues with this birth certificate. Warren Commission member Senator Richard Russell had the poorest attendance record of any member.  Not only was he busy with his duties in the Senate but he came to the conclusion early on that the Commission hearings were largely a dog and pony show with the conclusion already decided.  He would later be leading critic of the lone gunman theory and never put much stock in the lone bullet theory.  In that case, Russell decided to conduct his own independent investigation on the side.  For this task he contacted Army intelligence officer Colonel Phillip Corso (yes, that Colonel Corso of Roswell UFO crash fame) and Sen. Russell asked him to quietly look into the assassination.

Colonel Corso reported back to Senator Russell that his sources had shown there were not one, but two birth certificates for a Lee Harvey Oswald and both had been used by two separate people.  The account of this was related to researcher John Armstrong in a personal interview with Colonel Phillip Corso in 1996 (pps. 17 & 332, note 66).

How is that for high strangeness in the Kennedy assassination?  You dig into one mystery just to discover something even more mysterious.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Satellite Broadband–Only For The Lonely

If you are too far off the beaten path and need something better than dial-up just about your only option is broadband via satellite.  That is my issue living out in the country on property my grandfather purchased and farmed 80 years ago.  And it's not a very good option either due largely to inconsistent performance issues and frankly, is only for people that need the speed and need to keep up with things.  I got it because I needed the speed for uploading my stock photos to various agencies I sell through.  What follows is my experiences with one provider, Wildblue, over a 6-year period.

The Set Up
Hopefully the installer will do a good job or else you'll get off to a glitchy start.  Fundamentally, it all works as advertised.  Until stuff happens.  One thing is weather.  A dark cloud and and sometimes even a moderate rain can lose the lock.  As the storm passes it will reacquire the signal.  However, another problem is the central gateway, located elsewhere around the country can lose the lock for you if they have weather problems in their location.  Since I am on beam 45, my gateway is Lorado, Texas.  A storm front there and here I am here in Florida with a cloudless sky and there goes my internet.

Sometimes the net will slow to a crawl.  I don't know what causes it other than a network issue on Wildblue's end but I have a fix for it.  To reboot the modem.  And how do you reboot a satellite modem?  Pull the plug out of the socket, wait a fe minutes and plug it back in.  Hows that for hi-tech?  Nothing like living in a modern age, huh?  Apparently, the engineers thought the satellite lock would be so solid as to rarely get lost.  So there is no on/off switch or reset button.  The trouble is a loss of the lock happens so often, plus other glitches that might occur, that the unplugging and plugging is almost a daily occurrence.  It gets old quick.  I solved some of this frustration by getting separate, dedicated, power strip.  It's got an on/off switch on it.  Imagine that!

Anyway, it works for most matters.  The service goes through phases of being spot-on and running rock-solid and other periods of utter frustration, poor quality and ineptitude.  One day recently I had to reboot the modem 5 times.  The next day, none.  The problems encountered are everything from pages not loading with a host of error messages (101, 103, 105...) with are mostly network related; slow loading of pages, pages with most of the graphics missing and pages that never load.  I've seen the satellite lock lost in a heavy downpour and at other times staying connected through the worst of rain squalls.  Anything and all conditions are possible.  I've seen it all including equipment failure requiring a modem and parts replacement.

On the other hand, my satellite TV and radio work so much better than satellite broadband.  A recent tropical storm which featured 5 days of rain, the TV only lost lock once and the XM radio, never.  In my experience both are light years ahead in terms of quality and reliance.

FAP, the Fair Access Policy.  The was instituted so overuse of the bandwidth would slow down the speed for everybody.  A good idea in theory but it's like a death sentence hanging over one's head.  Will just one more download from iTunes do me in?  It's done as a rolling 30-day usage which I've never understood but I think it reflects what the usage was thirty days previously.  It’s a confusing method of calculation and I never know where I stand with it.  Some people have called it a “magic formula” and that is basically correct.  A competitor, HughesNet, has limits but loosens them up for late-night unlimited downloading from 1-6 AM, EST.  (Also, basic service is $10 cheaper per month and use KU BAND service for access during bad weather.)

(A word to Mac users, it might be wise to turn off the automatic downloading of software updates, no matter how important this feature is because your data usage can expand quickly out of control.  Especially if more than one Mac is on the pipeline.)

I've been FAP'd twice before.  Once you get past your 75% data threshold your speed is cut.  The first time I was uploading too many video clips to one of my online stock photo sites.  When this happens they back your speed off to dialup speeds.  I admit it was my own fault for not paying attention to my usage.  However, when Wildblue sent me the email that I was being FAP’d, they stated that since I had violated their policy I was being "punished."  Yes, they actually use the word "punished" in the email they sent me.  Imagine saying such a thing to a customer that is paying $50 a month for your service!  They don’t do that anymore because at this writing, I’ve got my FAP notice again.  Apparently, that 1.3 gig Mac OS updated did it plus a few other updates.  This second time has been the worst as they backed me so far off that most web sites would not load at all.  I got a host of 101, 103, 105 and 107 error codes.  The first time I could at least load a page.  This time virtually nothing.  It was as if I was placed in a sub dial-up mode.  Even my Earthlink dial-up, which I had to use during this time was faster and more reliable than this Wildblue slow-down.  I can understand lowering the data rate but this just about shuts off all web access.  Pretty nasty and uncalled for.

Regardless, it can take a few days to a week to get regular rates back up to normal again.

6 Years On
Nothing about the quality of satellite broadband service has ever gotten any better in quality over the past 6 years.  It's as glitchy as it ever was.  Signal drop-outs are common and nothing much has been done to correct this and other issues associated with the service.  It's all stuck back in time.  I've maintained a dial-up account with Earthlink and I'm glad I did as I've had to use it many times.  It's ironic that the old fashioned dial-up is so reliable–slow but reliable.  The Fair Access Policy has changed little over the years except to rename it a DAP–Data Allowance Police.  allowing users more leeway in managing it, or for that matter, understanding it.  At least the monthly service charge has remained the same. I’ve read that Wildblue has a newer faster system but that require a new dish and modem called Excede.  I doubt I will be spending any more money with them in the future and if you read the customer comments on Wildblue’s forum (http://wildblueworld.com/forum/) you will not find very many happy users there and it’s a classic tale of the pioneers getting all the arrows, or in this case, glitches.

Finally, 3G is in available in my area now and it's the next phase for me.  I haven't tried it yet but I have read the speed is much better and the basic service cost for broadband with Verizon is just $30 a month.  It’s a two year commitment though.  It has a FAP but your speeds are not reduced for going over your monthly allotment.  Instead, the user is just charged more per data packet.

So if you are far out in the boonies and need internet access faster than dial-up just remember what I've written here and what you can expect to deal with.  Your milage may vary of course, but be prepared with a back up dial-up account and a separate power strip.

Addendum  7.3.12
Did make the leap to Verizon 3G via Mobile Hotspot wi-fi.  It's awesome!  Way faster than Wildblue's basic service, no dropouts and it works when it's raining.  Lightning fast! Youtube video's run steady with no stop and starts.  Pages rip down in seconds. Verizon has a package deal for the Interent and wi-fi phone for around $69.95 a month.  Highly recommended for all folks living out in the country.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A True Skeptic is Skeptical of Snopes

Snopes.com, launched in 1995 by Barbara and David Mikkelsen, has become the premier “urban legend” debunking site on the Internet.  Run out of their home in California they have developed a lot of mainstream credibility and are routinely quoted everywhere from the mainstream media to the halls of Congress.   They do a good job at setting the record straight on numerous rumors that spread like wildfire on the Internet with what seems like a good ole dash of common sense.  However, I thought from early on when visiting the site that there something was not quite right about any of this.  Of course we need a healthy dose of skepticism in the Internet age which the Mikkelsens excel at.  It’s just when it comes to certain persons and events that the skepticism seems to falter.

I am also constantly amazed how people use them as a “trusted” source, because if you look into what they say, or in many cases don’t say, there are holes exposed in their arguments.

Besides favoring last century web site design, one thing I find peculiar about the Snopes web site is its web page text is coded so as not to allow any copy, cut and paste of anything written there.  Few sites do this.  You have to download the source (View menu on any browser) and dig through the code to find a quote to easily post in an article.  I can understand this for copyright reasons, but one can still get the text one needs anyway with a little extra work, so why bother?  It’s particularly onerous for anybody that wants to quote Snopes for any written work.

Love Us Some Obama!
Snopes has now become a very large repository of debunking just about anything said about Barack Obama that is negative or controversial.  With Obama the list is a long one from his early childhood, career, birth records, educational records, statements he’s made in his two biographies and current statements and actions. This is a man that keeps a large gaggle of lawyers employed, costing millions of dollars to keep important records on his early life withheld from the public.  If that doesn’t make people suspicious about him I don’t know what will.   It’s ironic that Scopes is so skeptical about everything until it comes to their Obama and then the skepticism flies out the window.  An example of that is Obama’s 50 Lies where they precede to debunk most of the 50.  Their reasons are sourced, which is sound procedure, but it should be noted that none of the original accusations are sourced so one cannot inspect the root of the original allegation.

Never the less, not all are debunked.  They did honestly point out that Obama stated in 2004 he wouldn’t run in 2008.  However, all Scopes does is point the reader to a YouTube link.  They don’t actually admit any deception on Obama’s part, though it clearly was, unless he simply had a change of heart.  It’s as if they hate to admit that Obama will bare a false witness.  Of course, the easily provable lies of Obama are not covered.

One of the growing problems with Snopes constant defending of President Obama involves using his autobiography, The Dreams of My Father as a debunking source.  There are quite a number of books coming out now showing it’s a complete fraud.  The recent news that a New York girlfriend was a “composite” character of several people is an example of a deception.  Who does this in their own life story?  Only a phony would.  It’s a deliberate falsehood but you won’t see that whopper in the Obama’s 50 Lies article.

Here is another example of how Snopes deals with the list of lies:

20.) Without Me, There Would Be No Ethics Bill - LIAR, you didn't write it, introduce it, change it, or create it.

It's unclear what ethics bill this statement references.  Obama did help pass a major ethics reform bill as an Illinois State Senator, and 110th U.S. Congress passed the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act, which "closely mirrored and drew key provisions from a bill (S. 230) that Senators Obama and Feingold introduced in January 2007."  We could find no reference to document Obama's supposedly having said that neither of those bills would exist if not for him.

This is the example of a classic Straw Man arguing style.  Notice the statement, “It's unclear what ethics bill this statement references.”  The Mikkelsons are the researchers of this information.  Why don’t they know the origin?  Who is the author of this?  Since the original assertion is not sourced it would be easy to put words in Obama’s mouth that he never said as a way to shoot down a gadfly.  I think that is what they did here as my search does not reveal anything about Obama’s alleged statement.  It’s a Straw Man to knock over.  

Obama’s 1981 Trip To Pakistan
In another disputed matter in Barack Obama’s life is his 1981 trip to Pakistan in 1981 with a college chum.  He apparently traveled first to see his mother and half-sister in Indonesia before traveling on for a three week stay in Pakistan.  The controversy Snopes addresses here stems from an anonymous email that made the rounds stating that Pakistan was on a “no travel” list issued by the U.S. State Department.  This has been widely discounted which Snopes accurately points out.

But they end it by saying the following:

“In short, if Barack Obama did visit Pakistan in the summer of 1981, he – like all other Americans – could have openly done so bearing a U.S. passport.”

Interesting that they used “if” in this instance.  ABC News verifies that Obama traveled to Pakistan in 1981. I don’t know why there is an implication that this didn’t happen.  It obviously did.  The wording here shows a twitchy position held by Snopes as if they are not comfortable with Obama’s excursion to Pakistan.  That trip does raise a host of other questions, such as, what was the future Senator and President doing over there for three weeks?  Another mystery in this mysterious man’s closeted life.

And the second part–“...could have openly done so bearing a U.S. passport,” is just speculation and ignores what other passport he might have had and used.

Primarily, they fail to answer an important question–did Barack Obama travel in 1981 with an Indonesian passport under the name of Barry Soetoro?  And not his American passport?  And it’s unknown with so many records not released or sealed by the lawyers for the President.

It’s important because if Obama did travel to Pakistan under his Indonesian passport as Barry Soetoro he committed a felony.  For while it is not against the law for an American citizen to own a passport to a foreign nation he or she cannot travel with it outside of the United States.  That’s against the law.  An interview with John Carman, a former Secret Service and Custom’s Agent confirms this significant detail.  (See link below to download the MP3 of this interview conducted by James Fetzer.)  However, if Obama is not and American citizen he would not be breaking the law.  So maybe that is another reason for Barack Obama to keep these particulars concealed from the public.

The Birth Certificate
This is probably the mother of all controversies that have surrounded Barack Obama from the start.  The whole matter is a mess and I don’t seek to add clarity as I don’t know how anybody can.  It boils down to a long, drawn out, Constitutional debate of what defines a natural-born citizen as opposed to a native-born citizen according to the eligibly requirements of the 14th Amendment.  Dr. Jerome Corsi has a detailed exposĂ© of this in his book, Where is The Birth Certificate?, chapters 4 and 13.  That’s a good place to start.  Who knows what the truth is when Obama’s own grandmother says he was born in Kenya?  When his agent’s promo brochures say he was born in Kenya.  When his wife Michelle is on YouTube giving a speech saying he was born in Kenya...

Snopes.com follows the typical path of Obama defenders which is to shoot down the critics, label them “Birthers” and then once again, source anonymous Internet quotes for a quick brush-off.  It all makes them look good and in turn makes the critics appear as a bunch of gullible, superstitious peasants who will believe anything.  There is no sense of a fair-minded approach to any of this.

In a notable example, Snopes mentions the work of digital imaging specialist and graphic artist Mara Zebest.  Her investigation is published in a 12-page report in which she concluded that the last released birth certificate is a fraud. Snopes allows for no link back to this work and insists it’s “...simply recycled old arguments that had long since been thoroughly debunked in detail.”

Instead of a fair examination of Zebest’s findings Snopes instead links to a 9-page rebuttal by a Frank Arduini.  And who pray tell is he?  A noted online OBOTS, a term used for online Obama defenders.  Arduini stays busy defending all things adverse of Barack Obama, especially debunking fraud in the birth certificate issue and can be traced to numerous forums around the Internet posting under such monikers as HistorianDude and Epectitus (Greeley Gazette for a bio on this guy).

Arduini, who describes himself as a IT Business Partner Director with CareFusion and apparently doubles as a supposed expert on digital imaging precedes to dismiss Zebest’s work in a 9-page drubbing. He launches with the barb that Zebest is “not an forensic digital image analyst.” Is Arduini?  No, and lists no credentials for a digital image analyst but that doesn’t prevent him from raking this poor woman over the coals.  However, Arduini’s credibility comes under attack from the various reader comments taking him to task for supposed flaws in his rebuttal.   The various comeuppances to this digital imaging know-it-all make for a lively read.  A good example of why one should not throw stones if one lives in a glass house.  Particularly a hypocrite throwing the stones (see below).

He goes on to label Mara Zebest a Birther and states, “She wrote her analysis not because she is an Adobe expert, but because she is a Birther.”  Horrors!  In Arduini’s view, this biases her ability to properly analyze the digital version of Obama’s birth certificate (three have been released so far).  This opinion is spurious at best and Arduini provides no facts to back up this silly Birther claim.

And this Obama shill accuses other people of being biased?  What audacity! This guy is a well established Obama partisan.  Does Snopes make any mention of this conflict of interest?  No, they don’t.

(Keep in mind the last birth certificate that was released was a 9-layer Photoshop PDF file.  It was a sloppy job with some layers using different using different DPI settings.  Somebody forgot to use the ‘merge layers’ option when they saved it out.  It was not a scanned document.  It was in effect, a fraud.  Not something Snopes will tell you.)

Whatever is going on here, Barack Obama has spent millions of dollars keeping his birth records, and many other records as well, sealed up from public disclosure.  This, from the man that promised complete transparency.  As Dr. Corsi found, all Barack Obama has to do is go to the hospital in Hawaii and order the release of the records.  He’s never done it.

Take It As It Is
The Mikkelsens are smart people.  But the taint of partisanship smothers their alleged independent work at Snopes.  I don’t think they are as autonomous as they portray themselves.  I can see why they are accused of being in league with the Democratic Party or financed by George Soros (both charges untrue–so far).  They are skilled players at the game of politics under the guise of seeking truth. There are numerous incidences, just a few mentioned here, that disclose that favoritism.  Any criticism or negative found with Barack Obama, his life or his character is shot down which borders on the fanatical.  They use every trick in the book to achieve this from straw man arguments, nonexistent allegations for easy dismissal, allegations made in anonymous emails from anonymous senders also easily dismissed, ignored evidence of counter-claims and at times, inaccurate or suspect interpretations of the law.  Their dismal of Mara Zebest’s report without even linking it so others can read for themselves what she has uncovered, and then use an Obama shill to repudiate it really exhibits how partisan they are. They don’t take seriously any assertion by any critic when it comes to President Obama.  If they did, they would look into and quote the work of researchers such as Dr. Jerome Corsi who has accomplished yeoman work in researching topics surrounding this President.

In short, I don’t think the Mikkelsens are seekers of the truth.  They are more defenders of the status quo.

As Jeffery Phelps said at Examiner.com:

“Snopes, not unlike any other quasi-‘mainstream’ source, takes advantage of the fact that people in general want to believe the government is good and is aiming to do the right and just thing.”

Amen, brother.  It honors all to be skeptical of everything.

Addendum  1.13.15
Someone asked me on Twitter why I don’t allow for comments since Snopes has a forum.  I don’t get the question and find it irrelevant.  I don’t see a contradiction if that is what the person was hunting for.  I am just writing articles here.  I think I’ve pointed out enough issues with Snopes and how they operate.  Feel free to do your own research.

But I will say this.  I don’t allow comment sections because I don’t have the time to monitor it or maintain ongoing debates with people.  People get nasty.  I was on a writer’s blog once and the comments section got so unruly that the author had to shut it down.  Too bad as it was one of the most entertaining parts of her blog!  I learned a lot from that experience of what she went thru and it won't be repeated here or on my other blog.

Mom-And-Pop Site Busts The Web's Biggest Myths.

Obama’s trip to Pakistan - ABC News - 4/8/08.

Snopes.com on Obama’s passport.

John Carman interview  - 1/30/12

Snopes.com on the Birth Certificate Issue.

Greeley Gazette article on Frank Arduini’s background.

Mara Zebest Birth Cert Report.

Frank Arduini, “The Barack Obama Long Form Birth Certificate - A Response to Mara Zebest”


Jeffrey Phelps, Obama officially ineligible?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The DMV - A Sign of America's Decline

Actually, the signs of a declining nation are all over the place.  The Department of Motor Vehicles has long been in the forefront of the looming demise.  It's everything that is bad about government, partially on the local level.  It's a dreadful place to encounter with long lines and featuring surly or uncaring employees (not to mention clueless--a DMV worker once asked a friend that was seeking additional information if she was trying do something illegal!).  In recent days it has come to be a metaphor and leading edge for the surveillance state with the amount of personal information one has to provide in order to get a driver's license which is cumbersome and largely without merit.  It's more evidence that the government is afraid of the people.  Terrified actually.  They view us as potential criminal suspects in everything we do and we have to endlessly prove our innocence to them.

I understand the need for security.  After all, a DL is the main ID used to get on an airplane.  But do we need to be North Korea?  I'm reminded of the great quote of Ben Franklin, which I paraphrase here, that those who give up liberty for security will have neither.  He was absolutely right and it's happening now before our very eyes.  I am sure the Founders would convict us being traitors to the cause of Liberty or simply mad with greater love for bread and circuses.

Show Us Your Papers!
The roots of this is the passing of the Real ID Act of 2005.  Currently 21 states are in compliance (see below).  Florida is one of those states.  Four pieces of authentication are needed to get a driver's license in this state.

As follows:

1.  Proof of Citizenship
2.  Proof of Social Security Number
3.  Two proofs of Residential Address

These documents are scanned and go into the Big Brother database in the sky.

As described on the state of Florida's Gather Go Get web site, this can be a combination documents. For example proof of Social Security can be either a SS card or a W2 or 1099 form.  Proof of Citizenship can be a certified birth certificate (state issued and not from the hospital of birth) or a passport.  Unfortunately, if you are renewing your license you can’t use your current license as verification for anything.

The most peculiar requirement is the two documents needed for confirmation of a valid residence.  I find this the most egregious as one should be good enough and it’s another unnecessary hassle for the average citizen.  This is a good example of governmental bureaucratic nonsense.  Just how sneaky are the American people anyway?  Most of us are honest folk.  But not from any government agency’s perspective.

But it gets even worse!  To be all encompassing and I suppose helpful to all they have provided various ways that the homeless and the convicted felons can get their license as well.  First the homeless.  If you are residing in a homeless shelter you can get proof of residency by getting the director of the shelter to verify that you stay there.  But wait just a minute...if you can't afford a place to live on your own, how are you going to afford a car, with its extra expenses for gas, maintenance and insurance?  And even after that, the homeless person will still need a second proof of residency.  Where do they get that from?  All of the documents listed most homeless people most likely won't have, and many involved owning something such as a hunting or fishing license, mortgage documents, voter registration card and so on.  These are people out of mainstream society.  It makes no sense but people in government seem to process little of it anyway, in their need for ultimate access for all.

Next the felons.  In this case, convicted sexual offenders whose names and addresses are kept file by the FDLE (Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement).  With a written request one can get proof of residency.  Wonderful!  A convicted felon and sexual deviant can use proof of being registered with the state for their crimes and use that to get a driver’s license.  Nothing like being open minded and non-judgmental!

Meanwhile, the illegals are running around here with nothing.  In many ways the illegal aliens are the freest people in America.  They hardly need any permits or licenses to do anything.  I know one personally that has been in America over a decade.  He's never had a driver's license.  His wife is legal so she provides for the title, tag and insurance.

I've been a registered driver in the state of Florida for over 30 years.  Which by the way, proves I've been a resident of the state and the county of Volusia as well, but it doesn't matter to them.  I'll never be grandfathered in.  I’m just not special enough.

Life at the End of Empire
So here we are, witnessing the growing encroachment of the State on our lives and liberties and we just go along with it.  For how long are people going to put up with this?   I think it's well past time we did more civil disobedience.  Fight their absurdity with absurdity.  If a home owner's association says you can't grow a garden in your backyard, simply tell them that you have no idea how that garden got there in the first place or deny that one even exists.  See how they handle it.  It's no more absurd that what they do.

Addendum  12.31.13

States in compliance with Real ID Act: Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

States not in compliance:   Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Marianas, Oklahoma, and Washington State.

States not mentioned are on the path to compliance.

Remember, if your state does not comply by 2016, you will not be allowed to use your driver's license from your state as ID to board a flight in the USA.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Believe We Went To The Moon!

But I have some issues...

I grew up in the Florida in the 1960's so naturally I was captivated by the Space program as a boy.  I had then, and I still have, my astronaut lunchbox, a bit rusty now, but still with NASA graphics visible on it.  I built model kits of the space craft from the Mercury through Apollo missions. I went with my dad and a friend to see the Kennedy Space Center and enter the visitor's glassed room to gaze inside the mammoth VAB in 1968.  I'll never forgot how huge that building was standing at the base and looking up.  One could almost fall backwards looking up so high.

Those astronauts were real, honest to God, American heroes.  Brave and true.  It made one feel good to be an American.  We were the can-do people and we were getting it done.  I'll never forget that night when Neil Armstrong announced to the world, "The Eagle has landed..."  It was an amazing thing to see in those early, ghosty black and white images.

It seemed an assured fact that American astronauts traveled to the moon, landing on it, did experiments and took samples and returned safely.  In recent years a cottage industry has emerged to produce books and videos doubting that anybody went there.  That the whole thing was a huge hoax they say.  There are issues with the radiation, discrepancies with the photographs and a host of other matters they point to as examples of the hoax.  I think this all arrises from people being so distrustful of the government.  And we know where that came from.  The JFK assassination, Vietnam and Watergate helped paint the view that the government could not to be trusted on some matters.

One of the things I find most bothersome about these naysayers who challenge the moon landings is that none of them are scientists or engineers.  Certainly nobody that worked for NASA has come forward to make these claims.  They talk a good game, seem to be very knowledgable about diverse topics of the science, but seem to rarely get around to interviewing engineers that could answer their questions, and provide logical explanations for the anomalies which are present.   Likewise, those that challenge the authencity of the photographic evidence are not photographers.  People such as Jay Weidner have made the internet interview circuit with his theory that the NASA moon films were faked by renowned director Stanley Kubrick.  Did Weidner ever interview Kubrick about this?  No.

I think men went to the moon and returned safely home but these critics do raise some interesting issues and some of these issues I find to be quite troubling.  What follows is just a few.

The Hasselblad Picture
What inspired me to take a look at the Hasselblad space images, which run from the early days of the space program to the International Space Station, is because moon hoaxer (can’t recall the name but I think it was Jay Weidner) stated that Hasselblad didn't feature any of the moon photos on their site.  I went to the Hasselblad USA web site and found out that this guy was totally wrong.  Of course the moon photos are there!  Lots of them.  All this does is add to the lack of credibility some of these critics have.

Then I found it.   The one that doesn't quite fit.  See the picture above. Remember, this is supposed to be pictures shot in space or on the moon.  This set from Hasselblad is not supposed to have pictures of museum displays or other set-ups.  It features an astronaut poking half of his torso out of the Apollo command module with the lunar landing module (LEM) attached while apparently in lunar orbit.

I've never read or heard of a space walk or any reason to open the hatch on a moon flight.  I'm not an engineer but even I know it's not wise to open the hatch, vent the cabin pressure and oxygen, on a lunar orbit millions of miles away from home.

Who is taking the picture?  The camera angle appears to be somewhere on the top of the LEM.  Is that hatch opened too?  If the camera is mounted on the outside then how is the film roll going to be retrieved?  Or for that matter how is the framing, focus and aperture going to be set?  The reflections on the astronaut's visor shows none of the things one would see in a studio shot if this is a mock-up publicity shot.  The single light of the sun is seen, no light stands or highlights from studio strobes.  The background is black and the reflections of the space craft are seen.

Download the picture HERE.  Put it in your favorite image processor and turn the brightness way up.  You'll see the top right edges of the moon are blocky as if it was painted over in large sections to obscure the edges.  I would conclude the moon in this image is evidently a backdrop.

So is it a space museum mock-up?  Must be because later I found a similar picture on a web site with the Earth as a backdrop.  This one supposedly signed by the astronaut Dave Scott.  Which one is real?  Probably both are fakes.  Source

Shadow of the Moon Video Clips
In The Shadow of the Moon is a beautifully produced, award winning (Sundance 2007) documentary on the Apollo missions to the moon.  The film quality is excellent, the music score is perfect and there are scads of interviews with Apollo astronauts.  The quality of the footage used overall is quite good and features a section of extra film clips rarely seen.

However, even with something this well done, there are anomalies with film clips, especially two that have long fascinated me which are included in the documentary.  They begin around 44 minutes into the program.

First is the ejection of the first stage Saturn booster and the booster separation ring and secondly, the lift off of the final stage booster on its way to the moon (see above).  Both film clips are spectacular featuring smooth, vibration free motion with razor-sharp focus.  No motion blur either.  They provide a clear view from the perspective of the boosters in space and how they look when they fall back into the Earth's atmosphere.  It is unknown to me how these were made and I've never seen anything written about how this spectacular footage was created.

It's quite apparent that this is not a live video transmission–this is 35mm film.  And how do we know that?  Because the booster liftoff clip features the end the film reel which show the number "35" scratched on one of the final frames (just hit pause to see the final frames–a jog wheel or a frame-by-frame button will let you see all the frames at the end.)  Also of note is the high image resolution and the lack of video artifacts.  Just watch some of the video footage NASA broadcast from a camera mounted on the Space Shuttle’s main booster tank and you'll see what I mean–the dropping of the signal, static bursts, color fading and so on.

It appears that NASA had specialized movie cameras installed in the second stage booster, one on the top and the other on the bottom.  Both are sealed in protective enclosures as evidenced by the horn-shaped spikes seen in all four sides of the frame.  This enclosure will have to be able to survive the harsh environment of space, radiation effects on film, the lift off blast of the final stage, reentry thru the earth's atmosphere and protection from shock damage on landing.

These film clips also feature their own set of anomalies.  For example, in the first clip after the first stage booster separates and tumbles off, followed by the booster separation ring releasing, the booster no longer tumbles and makes no movement at all.  It stays rock still over numerous frames.  The ring starts to burn as it tumbles off but the booster never does.  There is enough oxygen present for it to burn?  It could be friction as it's separated at a higher altitude.  Also, the earth and cloud cover never move as well.

The second clip is noted for how smooth and vibration free everything is.  The camera here is located on top the second stage booster with a view looking up as the final stage booster as it ignites.  It's an "in your face" shot.  Imagine that going off right in your face and no shock wave is present.  No motion blur either.  Perhaps another effect of low gravity?  At any rate, in this clip we see the drift of the spent rocket booster with the earth coming into view which starts the camera zooming through the opening, evidently released and on its way returning to earth, the final frames of the strip flashing by to an end.

At any rate, I would really like to know how this was done if it's legitimate space NASA space footage.  I think it's amazing they pulled this off but questions linger on how the film could survive the harsh environment of space (radiation, cold, heat, shock), reentry, landing and then retrieval.  I assume they had a radio beacon or some other type of tracking device on the camera's enclosure so it could be found  (unless NASA had an early and secret version of GPS at the time).  I've had the feeling that the public space program featured a lot of things that were not so public.  I don't think all the technology NASA developed was admitted to or released.

And it doesn't here with those clips.  Several more irregularities are seen in the film.  One segment that starts an hour and 4 minutes in, is a view of the Command Module in orbit around moon.  It's very small but a freeze frame will show it's a solid object with a clearly defined highlight and shadow.  At first I thought it was a reflection off the window but I don't think so because of the shadowing and object movement.  But the kicker here is that the point of view is from an orbit much higher than that of the Command Module.  Who is filming up there?  Did they have another spacecraft in orbit to supply additional footage?  Very strange and even stranger that few question any of this, even those in the moon hoaxer camp.

A Short Word About Photography
One of the biggest complaints from the critics, and what is most often sited as evidence for hoaxing lies in aberrations found in the photographs.  I'll admit there is some screwy stuff going on in some of them.  There are wrong angled shadows, foreshortening issues, lighting and focusing details and so forth.  I think the problem lies in taking photographs in such a hostile and forbidding place.

The science of optics was never tested on another world free of oxygen, weather,  and atmosphere prior to the moon landings.  Astronauts have testified to having problems with distance and depth perception while on the moon.  I take it the properties of light on the moon, in this harsh environment, are different and hence, alluding to this problem.

And besides, if  you are going to pull off a scam like this, aren't the perpetrators going to at least get the shadows and other details right?  Dumb mistakes are things a scammer wants to avoid.  After all, the people working on this are not a bunch of inbred hillbillies.

And a word on focusing.  One of the main things I learned in photography once I got going professionally was the use of a depth of field scale (DOF) and the use of what is referred to has the "hyper-focal distance."  Since the critics think that focusing is too clear in many of the photos, here is simple explanation.  The hyper-focal distance is set for maximum sharpness from foreground to background.  Basically, it's setting an aperture combined with the focus set to a certain distance in space. That is determined by the DOF scale on the lens (which by the way, is rarely seen on a lens anymore).  This creates a zone of focus.  Imagine a box and everything in that box will be sharp and in focus from foreground to background.

And that is how the how the astronauts took sharp photographs on the moon.

As I said I still believe we went to the moon.  If not, it's a huge waste of brain power, people's lives, hardware and national treasure just to one-up the Russians.  In regards to the anomalies in the films and photographs I am not opposed to the idea that some negatives was lost or damaged facilitating professional recreations.  That might help explain some of the oddities seen in the moon imagery.

Moon Hoax Sites and Videos

Jarrah White

Jarrah White Youtube Channel

Jay Weidner Interviewed by James Fetzer

On Youtube: Veritas Interview 06-03-11

Hasselblad USA’s web site

Dave Scott Fake

Monday, June 11, 2012

Andy Dean, The King of New Content?

Talk show hosts come and go but one that for me that is like the sound of listen to chalk screeching on a blackboard is Andy Dean.  Dean’s (real surname is Litinsky) on-air persona is one of a younger, thinner, cooler version of Rush Limbaugh with the same bombastic approach, only thoroughly more annoying. One radio promo goes, "Hi, I'm Andy Dean and I'm the smartest person I know."  Yeah Andy, in your dreams.  Apparently somebody in marketing though this annoying catch phrase would catch on with public.  So far it hasn't.  Dean can be heard in just over 50 radios stations nationwide including a late afternoon slot on Sirus-XM, channel 158.

One of Dean's more annoying traits is to constantly mock and refer to Libertarians as kooks.  Dean also takes great pride in lampooning Congressman Ron Paul for his Libertarian leanings.  The ironic thing is Dean's early career in radio included guest hosting for Neil Boortz, a noted Libertarian.  I guess they are all kooks till they supply you with a job, huh Andy?  Also, many conservatives and independents admire Ron Paul and during the 2012 President campaign, came in second only to the front runner, Mitt Romney.  That amounts to a lot of conservative and Republican support.  I consider him be one of the most honorable men to have served in the Congress.  I see nothing about him that would be considered kooky or crazy in any way.  Dr. Paul brought to the forefront issues that the people really care about whether they are conservative or not.  He's a true supporter of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as defined by our Founders.  I find Andy Dean's attacks quite offensive, unfair and hypocritical.

When Mr. Litinsky lays waste to a good man's character like Dr. Paul, he shows that he's a tool of the hierarharcy of the GOP and not of real conservatives or the  average person of the middle-class.  (Regardless, the status quo of the GOP is made up of wealthy elitists, the CFR and Bohemian Grove types.) Dean's Republicanism is of the old guard, fat cat variety–not the people of the Heartland who quickly embraced Ron Paul's Constitutional principles of less governmental intrusion, less taxes, states rights and of course, liberty.

The King of New Content
That's Andy Dean's slogan.  It is a mystery as well.  What new content?  There is nothing new here at all.  Just limousine Republicanism from a young, condescending, Harvard grad.  He hosts a radio show and has a Face Book page.  Big deal.  If you scour the internet and radio media you will see that nobody does "new content" better than Alex Jones via his Infowars and Prison Planet websites (and heard on Sirius-XM channel 166).  While Jones gets into some very far-out conspiracy stuff, he has always been on the cutting edge of new tech, media and news events.  He has an informed cast of weekly guest experts for his radio program and a long string of free lancers reporting at leading news events, using a variety of wireless technology broadcasting audio and video live online.

When I first listened to Rush Limbaugh years ago the first thing I noticed was what a difference there was regarding the news stories he reported compared to a near black-out of the same stories from the mainstream media.  Now I listen to Alex Jones and get the same difference in reportage compared to what Limbaugh covers.

Andy Dean offers nothing of substance that one would consider cutting edge by comparison.  He's too old media.  Even Glen Beck has a better reach than this guy (and Dean has taken some shots at him too–one caller asked why?–Dean joked how he was jealous of Beck's success–maybe that wasn't such a joke after all).  He reminds me of Jay, Dave and Conan on late night TV.  They all basically are doing the same format of the Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.   But none of them are Johnny Carson or come close to him.  They don't have the charisma that Johnny had.  Andy Dean does the same.  He offers the same old thing in a newer package, but a package that looks like it just landed from 1995.

Perhaps "The New King of GOP Water Boys" would make a better slogan.

Odd Man Out
Apparently Andy Dean enjoys being the odd man out.  He supports issues that I can't imagine his conservative audience being for and he seems to take great relish in following this tack.  For example, he thinks the TSA is doing a fine job at keeping us safe.  He also said on show broadcast 5/15/12 that he thinks it’s good for people to feel uncomfortable going through airport security as reminder of what the country went through on 9-11.  Disgraceful.  Apparently Dean doesn't fly that much because if he did, he would know better.  Everybody recognizes what a joke the TSA is, how thuggish and rude they are to the public and how often their members are being reprimanded for various offenses, with some arrested for criminal acts.  Nobody respects these people.  Except you-know-who.

Here is a quote from him on his show's blog (5/15/12 – since removed):

"I mean if people think it's intrusive, what happens in an airport, just picture yourself on American Airlines Flight 11 or United 175 or Flight 93 or Flight 77, and then you'll understand what 'intrusive' is."

Hey guess what?  100% of all suicided hijackers, 100% of all shoe bombers and 100% of all underwear bombers are Muslim males.  The people getting hassled in the airports don't fit this known category of terrorists.  No, they won't do what the Isrealis rightfully do, profile the main propents of terrorism.  Since race politics rules in the USA why not just make us all criminal suspects?  And that is what has been done, from the smallest baby to the oldest adult.  No 85 year old grandma is ever going to hijack a commercial aircraft and its silly to think so.  And this is what disgusts people.  Airport security has been called "Security Theater" and deservebly so.  Just how many terrorists has the TSA caught?  Absolutly none.  Dean shows himself an ass kisser of the status quo, which apparently, he's very good at.

Being controversial is a good way to draw in ratings.  But ticking off your audience by taking offbeat positions on issues that effect people adversly is not a way of enduring yourself to them.  Despite what your opinion of Rush Limbaugh might be, he always given credit to his audience and their ability to hang in there with him for over 20 years of broadcasting.  Dean’s approach to his audience is ambivalent and at times, rude and impatient to callers.  (And by the way, who would want to call in to one of these shows?)

With Andy Dean Litinsky the bluster wears thin.  Nothing worse than a precocious   child that brags and can’t deliver.  Unless he backs off of the annoying bits of his routine and really strikes out to be original, he’ll just be another mouth in a sea of them, all mimicking the same dull-witted party line.