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 exposé 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.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How Conservative Talk Radio Defends the Status Quo On JFK

One thing that stands out for me in listening to conservatives on the radio is how they are constantly telling their listeners how they can’t trust the government.  It’s the liberals in there, they say, with their socialist agenda.  They only thing they think government does well is the military through the Pentagon and the CIA.  Maybe NASA when they have the money.   They all seem to have some kind of affinity for the CIA as well.  I’ve lost track of the number of times Rush Limbaugh has railed against the Church Committee investigation of the CIA in the mid-70’s, claiming how the Democrats “destroyed” the CIA’s ability to properly function.  Which of course, is utter rubbish. Limbaugh never takes the time to comment on what this Congressional Committee uncovered during the course of the investigation.  Such as the CIA’s assassination activities against foreign leaders, working in tandem with the Mob in the aforementioned murder plots and in other nefarious activities, committing LSD experiments on unwitting persons through the MK-ULTRA project, violating its own charter not to spy on citizen’s of the United States (which they did and still do), among many other things.  In fact, I know of no conservative radio talk that criticizes the CIA in any way or ever has.  If anything, they are often repeat defenders of the Agency.  (To be fair, the mainstream media has never examined the CIA’s role in the Watergate scandal despite the fact that all five of the arrested burglars were CIA agents.)  Which makes one wonder why?  Why be so beholden to them?  Or for that matter to any of their other sacred cows, the two main ones being Israel and Halliburton.

(Recently one poor sap called in to the Mark Levin show and dared to mention the “H” word and it was like throwing gasoline on a fire.  Levin went all off on this poor guy and before he cut him off calling him a dummy.  Halliburton was originally known as Brown and Root, a contractor that benefited finically after John Kennedy’s death as the Vietnam war escalated.  They’ve been around a long time and are most famous for their no-bid contracts.  They are big-time contributors to both political parties.  Practically all conservative radio hosts will defend them to the hilt, as I have heard Rush Limbaugh do on numerous occasions.  Why is the defense so zealous?  Perhaps ones feeds the other?  Halliburton without a doubt is a major component of the military-industrial complex and instrumental in building its infrastructure.) 

For the most part the Kennedy assassination is a non-topic on conservative talk radio.  Conspiracy in general isn't unless the Democrats say or do anything--then it’s okay to hatch plots for their motives and activities.  Anybody that calls into the Rush Limbaugh show and dared mention any unsanctioned conspiracy (such as the Bilderbergs) was mocked by Limbaugh as a member of the “black helicopter crowd.”  This is getting harder to do now with so much information being published on the web regarding the secretive Bilderberg meetings, a cause for much conspiratorial speculation in the past.

Mark Levin Takes A Shot
Conservative talk shouter Mark Levin on his 6/24/10 broadcast went on a long rant on film director Oliver Stone, mainly over his support Hugo Chavez.  He then went after Stone’s movies saying that anybody that watches them is a “fool” and  that Stone creates conspiracy movies that are hate, directed at America.  This from a man who admits never having seen a Stone movie but somehow, is all-knowing in regards to this subject.  This is quite telling as the only conspiracy movie I know of made by Oliver Stone is JFK, a film that supports conspiracy in the death of President Kennedy, a belief held by a large majority of Americans.  

Of course, this is not to say that noted liberals, such as Noam Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn scoff at the idea of conspiracy in the death of JFK, because they do.  In many ways both sides of the political spectrum have joined ranks on this affair to shut down speculation on conspiracy answers for John Kennedy’s death.  As if conspiracy never happens.  The conservative talkers are big believers in the conspiracy alright, constantly harping on how President Obama is out do destroy the economy, our liberty, and so on.  They just don’t go near that other conspiracy.

There is however, one conservative talk host that does like to repeatedly invoke the subject of John F. Kennedy being killed by a long gunman and that is Bill Cunningham.

The Main Offender
Conservative Bill Cunningham, who gained fame in 2008 at a John McCain rally for referring to front runner Barack Obama as Barack Hussein Obama.  This annoyed McCain who had nothing more to do with him.  Cunningham, who resembles a human version of Howdy Doody without the lines down his chin broadcasts on the former Matt Drudge slot on Sunday night at Sirius-XM.

He is, for some odd reason, a constant defender of the Warren Commission.  I find it peculiar that he does this so much.  He uses call screening and thus a good idea what people are going to say when they appear live on-air.  So when the Warren Commission doubter comes on to state conspiracy in the death of Kennedy, Cunningham is quick to shoot them down.  One night he referred to one man as an idiot, all for simply doubting that Oswald was a lone gunman.  For a man that constantly tells his listeners how incompetent government is he seems to have no issue with the Warren Commission’s actions, which in essence, was not an investigation of the normal type, but an evaluation of what they were provided.  And they were not provided everything!  The Warren Commission did not field it’s own investigators.  It basically did Investigation Theater to calm the masses, with Commissioner Allen Dulles arrogantly assuming the public would never be interested in examining the 26 volumes of evidence they published.  (A lot of which, ironically, contradicts their final report.)

Cunningham riffs on the same old themes against a conspiracy:  Oswald was a nut and loser; if there was a conspiracy it would have outed because people can’t keep secrets; the Warren Commission did a thorough job, and so on.  The argument that he uses that annoys me the most is the old, retreaded line on how people can’t keep secrets.  And just how much does get out?  What really is going on at Area 51 right now?  Or the Skunkworks?  Or the CIA headquarters at Langley?   Remember all of those banks the Federal Reserve propped up?  We still don’t know who got the Fed (tax payers) money because when the Congress asked the Federal Reserve and they refused to tell them anything.  Any number of secretive government agencies with multi-million dollar black budgets do a pretty good job at keeping their operations under deep cover.  Forcing people to sign non-disclosure agreements (as all personnel at Kennedy’s autopsy had to) doesn’t hurt either.  People certainly kept quiet in the Manhattan Project where thousands were involved with one of the top secrets of the war that was not revealed to years later.  
Probably the most annoying thing about Bill Cunningham is how ignorant he is on this issue while he speaks with such an imperious and knowledgeable tone.   It is almost as if he takes his cue from the Vince Bugliosi school of Straw Man arguments.  I just fail to understand why he is so often on the issue, constantly reinforcing the Warren Commission’s flawed conclusion, which a careful study of shows deception and a lack of serious inquiry; a rubber-stamping of the original lone gunman theory formed only a few hours after the tragedy took place.  

Think about it...how can you have an honest investigation with dishonest people in charge?  Many of whom, hated the man whose death they were pretending to investigate?  Believer’s in the Warren Commission theory of a lone nut never seem to deal with this troubling aspect of the case.  Bill Cunninghams of world do not.  As Alex Jones said, he was vetted and offered a job being the next Rush Limbaugh but he would have to compromise his beliefs and reporting on conspiracy issues to achieve that position.  He turned it down but not without eventually having his own success in developing a following.  For years Jones could only be heard on shortwave or the Internet.  Now he is Sirius-XM six days out of the week.  The experience of Alex Jones may be a peek into how things work in the talk radio industry.  Compromise and sail--remain independent and sink or flounder.  Talk on-air about how liberals control everything and never mention government paid shills (as in the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird) having a controlling influence and what we see and hear in the Big News and you rise to the top. 

So we must be careful what we hear from these people as they pat themselves on the back, called each other “good Americans” and leave the Man behind the curtain alone.  

Douglass, James, JFK and the Unspeakable; The Warren Commission Report; Venture, Jesse, American Conspiracies; McKnight, James, Breach of Trust; Proudy, Fletcher, The Secret Team; Hougan, Jim, Secret Agenda; www.history-matters.org