Monday, October 14, 2013

The Lonesome Death of Mariam Carey

The murder of Mariam Carey on the streets of the Capital reminds me of a chilling story a cousin once told me about sitting in a bar in Columbia when a death squad showed up and shot a patron at a table.  Another man, apparently an associate, rushed out the door but didn’t get far as he was gunned down in the street.  A truck came and they tossed the bodies in and off they went while someone else hosed the blood of the street.

And this is what America has become.  There is a mean spiritness creeping into all levels of government and law enforcement.  The sanctity of life which we all hold dear, is fading away into a cold death-stance of men who would be kings.  It’s as if the general public is the enemy and they are out to get even.  How dare that woman not stop her car when we told her to!

I was listening to a Clyde Lewis podcast today.  A caller gave a good analogy.  He said there was once a country where man killed some people and was chased by the police for a long time till his car ran out of gas.  They surrounded him and ordered him to get out.  He did so and was lead away for trial.  What was this country?  America.  It was the arrest of OJ Simpson.  What happened to that country?  Where did it go?

Indeed, where did it go?  We lost it.  And it’s been building for years with Barack Obama, probably one of the most corrupt and dangerous men ever to become President of the United States, as the open sponsor of the new meanness we see everywhere.  A man who early on, promised to punish his enemies and reward his friends.  That was not just a throw away line.  That should have sent a chill to everyone that loves liberty.  That is the words of a tyrant a man who feasts on the souls of others.

Mariam Carey’s public execution for blowing past a check-point is the same thing that would have happened in Nazi occupied Europe.  Yes, she should have stopped.  When a gun is drawn on you and you are ordered to halt by a police officer you’d better stop.  However, her actions that day are hard to fathom.  But most bothersome is the after-story; the defaming of her character, the releasing of medical records to further tar her as a person.  They say she was suffering from post-partum depression but her sisters say that she was over that and was off her medications as directed by her doctor.  

Brazenly, when the Carey family went to see the body they were shown a picture instead. They have yet receive the body.  Mariam’s baby is in some kind of federal custody and hasn’t been turned over the family either.  Where is the legal basis for this?  Just because they can?  

Another wild story to defame her character was that Mariam thought the President was talking to her in her thoughts.  However, her sister Valarie Carey said that Mariam, "did not believe the president or any government official was going to do her harm."  

Who do you want to believe?  The National Security State liars or Mariam’s family who knew her?  

The Civil Rights Players
So where is Rev. Al Sharpten, or Jessie Jackson, and other Civil Right’s figures in all of this?  A black woman is killed in cold blood, by a large group of white law enforcement agents, and never a peep out of them–any of them.  This happened earlier in the year with the burning death of former L.A. police office Chris Dorner, once again, by a group of white police officers.  

I think this shows who men like Sharpten and Jackson really serve.  Carey and Dorner are the untouchables, the throw-aways.  The Travon Martin types are safer and serve a greater political purpose.  

Operation Condor
Clyde Lewis did a show recently on Operation Condor, which was used by the CIA to destabilize leftist governments in Central and South America.  He chatted with several experts and there seems to be in his view, that we are approaching more of an Operation Condor situation than a Nazi takeover.  Please download the podcast listed below for this important show.  It’ll be worth your time.

I wonder who had the job to hose Mariam Carey’s blood off 2nd and Constitution?  

Clyde Lewis podcasts.  High recommended.

'Pattern Of The Condor: More Echoes In Transition' w/ Frank G. Ford & Silvija Germek - Oct. 9, 2013

'Burn Witch, Burn' - October 7, 2013  (Mariam Carey)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Barack Obama, International Man of Mystery

There has probably never been a more mysterious man to occupy the White House than Barack H. Obama.  A man, none of us really know.  And he doesn't want us to know him, apparently afraid of what we might find there.   Even the people that have been closest to him, other politicians to his person physician, depict a distance that none of them could breach.  He extends this chilliness to supporters and political allies much to their chagrin.  Behinds the scenes, he and his wife Michele are notorious for snubbing the very people that helped launched them to the oval office:  Oprah Wintry, the Kennedy clan, and the wealthy upperclass blacks of Chicago, among many others.

Sometimes it seems like there are two different men here.  There is the narcissistic, prickish, thin-skinned, duplicitous Barack getting even with his enemies Chicago-style, doing it all with a charming toothy grin as he twists the knife.  He schemes about remaking America into a country most American's don't want or relate to.  Then there is the other Barack, the one that is a total goof in public, fuzzy headed, bordering on dementia.  Such as when he called a Navy corpsman a "corpse man," or signs a guest book with the wrong year, or can't remember his daughter age in a speech.  A man that can't get a visiting city's name right, a man that has traveled through 57 states, a man who bows to other world leaders as if they are his superiors.  He seems befuddled at state dinners and embarrasses himself by not following protocol as if he doesn't know what to do, how to act, or has little in the way of manners for international gatherings.  A prime example: Toasting Queen Elizabeth while the British national anthem played.  In an embarrassing episode, he finally had to sit down and shut-up till the music stopped playing and try a reboot.   Wasn't there a staffer there to tell him about the timing and proper manners?

So here is a man so two-sided, it's hard to tell who's who.  Part brilliant and part stupid; a great campaigner but incompetent at governance; an articulate orator, but a poor communicator; a Noble Peace Prize winner, with a kill list, a leader with no leadership skills or for that matter, a compunction to lead.  

Campaigning and Governance
Campaigning is his thing.  It's his gift.  He's awesome at it.  But when it comes to the details of being a leader and guiding legislation along, the contacting of key Congressmen or Senators and sweet talking them, guilt tripping, arm twisting, handing out gifts in exchange for support. Obama does none of this.  He acts above the fray, which often leads to failure.  There is a lot more legislation he could have gotten passed and signed into law if he had made these efforts.  

This stance follows him to the international scene as well.  An example was his canceling a meeting with Russian leader Validmir Putin over the Stowden affair.  He could have gone, showed his displeasure with Putin for thumbing his nose and stood him up at a press conference.  But Obama played the cowardly lion and tucked tail.  One could never image a Reagan or Clinton doing such a thing.  Confrontation is not his way.  Kim Zigfeld at American Thinker put it succinctly:

"As Hitler could not have wished for better than Chamberlain, Putin could not have dreamed of more than Obama.  The president won't make the highest American values part of his relationship with Russia, maybe because he doesn't share them, and he won't stand up for American values and honor by making Putin pay dearly for crossing them, maybe because he doesn't care about them."

And there you have it.  The American traditions and ideals most Americans cherish, Obama doesn't believe in.  As Ed Klein said of Obama in his book, The Amateur, Obama is out to save America from itself.  He thinks America has lost its way and needs to remodeled into a socialist utopia, which of course, has never worked anywhere that it has been tried.  

Barack Obama and the Flat Earth Society
One of the early controversies of Barack Obama's presidency had to be the question of his citizenship.  It's a mirky area and too long and drawn out to go into all of the details here. Check out Jerome Corisi's well sourced book, Where is the Birth Certificate? to explore this topic in greater detail.  Basically, since Obama delayed releasing his long form birth certificate, and apparently no one running for president has to show his or her proof of citizenship, the issue gained momentum with every passing day.  It looked suspicious to spend millions of dollars to keep it sealed, which is still is along with a host of other files. No, those released birth certificates are fake and I don't care what those shills over at Snopes say,  especially the last release, which is revealed not be a scanned document but a nine-layer Photoshop digital file.)  In fact Obama early on set up a PAC to raise money to fend off all challenges which are handled by the Perkins Coie law firm.  Over three million dollars and counting.  

Who does something like this?  Why is such simple information withheld from public release?  What is there he doesn't want us to know?  Since then, there are issues with his SSN and selective service registration and no educational, health, or passport records have ever been released.  

Another issue is the number of lawsuits have been filed trying to determine what was his origin of birth and the courts have decided that these suits have no standing.  In other words, they are not going to touch it.  It's tainted with plague.  Congress will not make a move, nor will the Supreme Court.  Justice Clarence Thomas said to a sub-committee of the Congress that they were evading the eligibility issue but never said why. They are all in on it.

Being a seeker of the truth, I have been long disappointed that the chief critics of Obama, namely conservative talk radio did not run with this.  If Limbaugh, Hannity, Levine, Beck, and many others had pursued this issue, such as Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi did over at, they could have gotten some real traction on this issue.  Instead, by holding back, they allowed Obama's supporters in the media--and they are legion--to control how this issue was defined.  

Now anybody that doubts Obama's citizenship is called a Birther and treated as a member of the Flat Earth Society.  It's fringe stuff.  Ironic, considering there is no real documentary proof that Obama was born in the United States and so many close to him have claimed birth in Kenya.  That would include his paternal grandmother, the Kenyan ambassador Peter Ogego, and even Obama's wife Michelle, in several public speeches.  Obama in his early promo literature also mentioned being Kenyan born.  Senior Elections clerk Tim Adams had access to state birth records and said that there was no birth certificate for Barack Obama.  And the list goes on and on...

If Barack Obama is not a legitimate US citizen, then it's likely impossible for most people to fathom a conspiracy this vast, this illegal, that could actually happen. The legal checks and balances are supposed to prevent something like this from happening.  It would mean the government is a criminal  enterprise, lost from the will of the People.

Another thing to consider if this happened, there are a lot of helpers here to cover up a crime.  So don't be bewildered by the vastness of an operation like this.  Besides Obama's friends in the mainstream media are made up of a host of liberal websites, bloggers, cable news networks and to a certain extent, even the conservative media (Fox, talk radio) to help in burying the issue as well.  

Controlling The Puppet
There odds are that Barack Obama was not born in this country.  In many ways what defines a "natural born" American citizen can get very murky.  It's not clearly defined in the Constitution.  Sen. John McCain had to be investigated but the Senate to determine if he was eligible to run in 2008. 

Never the less, what better way to control a man if you have a flaw, or any flaw in his character, lifestyle, etc, over him?  There are plenty of real-life examples of this; just read Robert Caro's bio's of Lyndon Johnson and how he called in his "cards."  Even better, watch the political drama, House of Cards, to see this sort of thing in action.  Actor Kevin Spacey plays the character of Frank Underwood, a conniving congressman manipulating people and events.  And in the story he finds the perfect man to control––another congressman who gets in trouble with a hooker and Frank fixes and covers up the crime for him.  The man is now beholding to him.  Then Frank forces this poor guy into all kinds of things, eventually running him for governor.

You don't run the best man for the run the best man you can control for the job. That's Politics 101.

If Obama is not a citizen of the Untied States and has other proclivities (i.e., drug addiction, heath issues, homosexuality, etc.) then this is a man that the rich and powerful would love to run.  He has enough fraud in his character and past to keep him on a tight leash.  No wonder others have to supply millions of dollars to fend of all legal challenges he faces.

Barack Obama has been called a puppet.  He's been called out for being little interested in the job.  A man who starts his day at 10:30 AM, has a few meetings and calls it day.  If one can spend 5 hours or more playing golf, then here is man with little to do.  And you would think the job of president would fill all of one's waking hours.  But not this man.  Maybe because all the heavy lifting is being done by others?  All Barack has to do in that case, is play president on TV.

The First Act Is The Last Act
Barack Obama's first official act as president which was to sign Executive Order #13489 sealing up his files.  That includes the files of the vice president as well.  (It is unclear to me what records are sealed––his documents as president or his past life records?  Colleges, health, travel, and so on?) Not bad coming from a man who promised the most open Administration in history.  

So much for that.  


Barry Soetoro registered to vote in D.C.

Where is the Birth Certificate? by Jerome Corsi
The Amateur by Edward Klein
The Secret Life of Barack Obama by Mondo Frasier.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

AG Eric Holder and the Lawlessness of the Times

Excellent article about the machinations of one, Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States. Read this and you'll see how much truble we are in as a nation.  Hopefully we can survive these traiters to the Republic.  LINK

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Police State In Full View

Early forerunner of the TSA hassling an old man in Europe.

Police State reports from around the country.

Rise of the Warrior Cop

The death of Marine Sergeant Derek Hale

Florida Nurse Terrorized by US Marshals in Warrantless Raid

Index of outrageous police actions

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Real Flight Plan

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber

“The effect this matter has had on my life has been astounding and due to this case, I will never trust the government in any matter, ever.”

Kurt Haskell

I was watching the Jodi Foster movie, Flight Plan, in which her character, a widow, traveling from Europe to the United States for the burial of her husband, takes a nap only to awaken with her daughter missing.  So a big hunt ensues to find the girl aboard the airliner inflight.  Without giving away too much of the plot, the main bad guy is running a scam and (never explained) gets the girl hidden onboard. As part of his plot, he arms and attaches C-4 explosive.  Okay, some parts of the plot are a bit of a stretch, but I was immediately reminded of the famous terror event form Christmas of 2009 featuring the “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.  Umar was supposed to have tried to blow up an airliner by trying to set fire to some explosive powder hidden in his underwear.  It failed, he badly burned himself, and was later convicted and sent to prison.

I had originally heard it was packets of C-4 but as I have learned, it was PETN, a powered substance that needs a chemical catalyst of acid, which apparently Umar added while in the lavatory.  However, his method of detonating it was way off as it is difficult to ignite and burns slowly.  Basically, like C-4, it needs an mechanical or electrical detonator.  Was Umar then, using a fake bomb?  Apparently so, and it’s been documented in other terror related cases.  Take a look at this one at the Huffington Post link.  Do a study of terrorist arrests and it’s nearly all driven by government agencies using informants to coerce people, generally ne'er-do-wells and unfriendly immigrants of the Muslim faith, to commit acts that they generally wouldn’t have been involved with.

Ironically, the movie got it right–the bad guy is shown inserting an electrical detonator into the C-4.  Setting it on fire will not cause an explosion.  The government’s official account of the underwear bomber attempt to set off a bomb with fire was completely wrong.  PETN will not explode if lit up either.

However, Something Is Off Here

The government’s narrative runs into difficulty with the eye witness report of Kurt Haskell, waiting with his wife to board his flight in Amsterdam, who claims to have seen Umar’s attempts to board the plane without a passport rebuffed till a “smart dressed man,” as Haskell describes him, negotiates with airline personnel to allow Umar onboard. Some news accounts stated that Umar did actually have a proper visa and passport and photos of a passport have been shown.  If that was the case, then why did the man in the suit that Haskell saw, need to intervene?  Haskell believes the passport is phony as is the picture of the underwear.  

In fact, Umar is supposed to have been badly burned in the escapade.  Ever seen any burn marks on that grungy pair of drawers?  Of course not.

After the attempted bombing, Kurt Haskell documents a long, frustrating, aftermath of trying to get his story recognized by the authorities both at the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and the news media.  He is mostly dismissed, and sometimes called a liar.  Dutch officials claim to have examined many hours of surveillance footage and never saw the man in the suit (no word if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was spotted on their footage either).  Haskell said he was shown a large batch of photos of the men suits, but none of them matched the guy he saw.  Haskell also had a hard go of getting other witnesses to come forward.  A lawyer such as Haskell knows what his rights are is not easily intimidated.  Unfortunately, many people are.  

Media’s Coverage of the Story
Kurt Haskell says that Chris Hanson of NBC’s Dateline, came to his office twice for interviews to later dismiss his account of events as “unsubstantiated rumor dispelled as myth.”  That was harsh.  Naturally, his story is ignored by Dateline on their report on the attempted bombing attack.  This is typical of a mainstreamer such as Chris Hanson, to make sure the government’s wacky narrative stays in play.

Another story I found, by Lee Ferran of ABC News entitled, “Stink Bomb: Underwear Bomber Wore Explosive Undies for Weeks, FBI Says,” borders on the ridiculous.  This bit of news reporting is basically an FBI release claiming the bomb failed to go off because Umar wore the underwear for three weeks, to presumably get used to wearing them.  As FBI agent Ted Peissig states in the piece, “We think ultimately, that probably is what caused a little bit of separation in the sequence of events in the explosion.”  Uh-huh, that makes sense.  It’s amazing how these people can declare this hogwash with a straight face.  It’s about as bad as Janet Napolitano saying “the system worked” after a bomber, or in this case a phony bomber, was allowed to get through security and board a commercial flight.  They must think us dumb as sheep.  And once again, we have a so-called journalist in Lee Ferran passing this rubbish off as news reporting.

Notice how the mainstream press functions these days–they just regurgitate a government press release without question.  They have traded integrity and critical thinking for access.  As Haskell said on his blog, “...the media is nothing but a mouthpiece for the U.S Government.”  I think he’s right.

Ultimately, Kurt Haskell is restricted to his blog, a few articles here and there and  a series of prominent radio interviews with Rollye James and Alex Jones, both friendly to conspiracy.  When the trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab went down, Haskell was to be the only and hence, star witness till Umar suddenly declared his guilt and was put away in four consecutive 50-year sentences.  Shades of James Earl Ray, pleading guilty to the murder of Martin Luther King.  When a defendant does that, anything controversial, or for that matter, the real truth, gets buried.

The End Result
As freely admitted but authorities, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab  was on the terrorist watch list.  Yet he was allowed to board.  As Kurt Haskell wrote on

“I became further saddened from this case, when Patrick Kennedy of the State Department during Congressional hearings, admitted that Umar was a known terrorist, was being followed, and the U.S. allowed him into the U.S. so that it could catch Umar’s accomplices. I was once again shocked and saddened when Michael Leiter of the National Counter terrorism Center admitted during these same hearings that intentionally letting terrorists into the U.S. was a frequent practice of the U.S. Government. I cannot fully explain my sadness, disappointment and fear when I realized that my government allowed an attack on me intentionally.”

I find Kurt Haskell’s account of what happened that day in Amsterdam to be highly credible.  He’s always told the same story without contradiction.  It’s similar to stories told by witnesses to events where authorities have another agenda and they do everything to sweep a conflicting witness testimony (and any evidence) under the rug.  People like Haskell suffer the slings and arrows of intimidation, ridicule, slander, and probably the worst slight, to be simply ignored.  His story is given no credibility or acknowledgement pertaining to the history of the event.  Somebody even had one of the other passengers contact him to tell him he didn’t really see what he saw.  To their credit, the editors of Wikipedia do mention Kurt Haskell’s experience but only in passing and they never say it was true.

Probably the lamest stunt ever done but with a coordinated government PR campaign, coupled with an unquestioning mainstream press it was actually easy to pull off.  The underwear bomber represents the classic patsy.  A gung-ho young man willing to self-sacrifice for his Holy War, he was told by handlers how to set off a bomb that wasn’t meant to go off.  Similar to Oswald using a junky rifle with a telescopic sight not properly aligned. 

What Kurt Haskell and other other passengers of Flight 253 experienced was the duplicity of government.  They say and do one thing in public and say do just the opposite in private.  And innocent people sometimes get hurt or killed. The coverup ensues.  The Benghazi scandal is an example of that duplicity.  

Only with the independent Internet media and certain talk radio shows was this fraudulent event exposed for what it was.  A false flag in the supposed war on terror.  And the end result?  A renewal of the Patriot Act, the introduction of full body scanners at the airports, and a general lessoning of liberty and the absurd groping of genitals and breasts at airport security lines. 

All as a result of a fake terror event.


Kurt Haskell’s account of witnessing the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarding without a passport.

Silly ABC News report.

Kurt Haskell’s blog and his account of the man in the suit.

Wikipedia entry on PETN. 

Mohamed Osman Mohamud Arrested In Portland Car Bomb Plot

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Snopes Got Snoped

Good article at WorldTruth about the Snopes debunking web site.  I've had my own issues with the site and how they operate and arrive at their conclusions.  Read my article HERE.  Read this piece and be aware that all is not what is seems on the Internet.

Monday, April 29, 2013

We’ve Crossed The Rubicon

An example of a public servant pointing a loaded weapon at a tax payer in Boston.

After seeing the horrific news that the Boston Marathon had been bombed I started dwelling on what new draconian laws were going to be created as a result of this attack.  I was soon to see that the no new laws were needed.  The State had now become the law with the Boston police aided by various Federal agents (troops?) started invading and marching people out of their homes at gunpoint.  It was an outrageous violation of constitutional and civil rights.  Most of the more shocking images of this event are found online, because as usual, the Fourth Estate let us down.  Even the conservative radio media, no fans of Mr. Obama, have made hardly a mention of this unconstitutional police state gambit in rounding up a lone teenager.  Conservative talker, Mark Levine, who passionately reports on constitutional abuses of the Federal government says not a thing about this. 

As usual with these tragic affairs, the story of what happens changes with every passing day.  The Colorado and Sandy Hook shootings of last year, the rouge LA Police office Chris Dorner of early this year, to now this latest event, the Boston Bombing follow a familiar pattern of oddball happenings, strange anomalies, and never answered loose ends.  I’ve lost count with the number alterations of the Official Narrative.  We started out with two Russian Moslem brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev being discovered at the culprits quickly, to the dramatic Friday night shootout with law enforcement. 

There really are too many plot shifts to document here but just tale one little episode, the shootout and capture of the younger brother, Dzhokhar.  He and his older brother were supposed to have robbed a 7-Eleven.  That is now denied by the 7-Eleven corporation, from Margaret Chabris, the director of corporate communication who reported that their surveillance video did not match the brothers.  The car they are driving has change make and model several time.  Finally, Dzhokhar, was supposed to be confined in a boat shooting it out with the police.  It’s implied he tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.  Now we are told he had no gun on him when apprehended.  So his wounds come from the police, who undoubtedly would out to kill an unarmed man.  Can’t take any chances, now can we?

Another oddity in the is the video clip of the naked man, apprehended by police.  A Tsarnaev family member said it’s the older brother, who is supposed have been shot up in a police firefight.  If he is not Tamerlan Tsarnaev then who is the naked guy?  I suspect he’ll never come forward and will be another phantom in an endless parade of them.  It could also be one of those clever diversions that our three-letter agencies are capable of performing.  There is a large band of conspiracy buffs on the Internet, with Alex Jones the lead husky, and I sometimes think they are unwittingly used to lead us off the right path. The operatives are clever–they can make a person telling the truth look like a crazy fool.

And to add another thing almost as troubling is the crowd that gathered after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested chanting “USA...USA...!”  A crowd gone mad, seemingly not caring that their rights had been violated, that for a day they were held captive in their homes.  Witness the image above with the police officer (I assume) dressed like a soldier, and may be one, pointing a gun at someone looking at him through their window.  This level of intimidation is outlandish and unnecessary.  They had clear pictures of the culprits and a man on the run is not going to be taking their picture through a window.  This is an image not from the future but from now.  It’s here.  Tyranny has arrived.

Ironic that it happens in the state that helped birth the revolution.

And one more thing...more security does not mean more safety.  These idiots cannot keep us safe.  

Addendum 4/29/13
Excellent article on this issue here by THOMAS J. LUCENTE Jr., HERE
Further Reading...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Who are you going to believe?


Just wait, the Lone Bomber will be the official story.   Believe it if you want....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Taylor, Wherefore Art Thou?

Taylor Guitar's marketing dept. thinks this image defines cool.

I bought my first really good guitar, a Taylor acoustic guitar in the summer of 1991.  I still have it and it's been a wonderful guitar to play and own.  It's in the vintage class now that it's over 20 years old and even though some frets need to be redressed, it's tone has grown richer over time.  Since then I've owned several more Taylor guitars and they were all outstanding.

Robert Taylor shook up the industry in 1980s with quality made acoustic guitars famous for one main innovation–thin necks like one would find on an electric guitar.  For years acoustic necks were a thick and round as a club.  The thinner neck made the guitar easier to play since the low profile neck–as it became known–reduced hand tension and strain.  Complex chords were easier to place and position.  The old guard of acoustic guitars in America, Martin and Gibson, followed Taylor's lead and starting make thinner necks for their instruments as well, although Martin's necks still aren't as thin as a Taylor.  It was innovation long in coming.  

By the 1990's Taylor guitars were being widely seen played by noted country artists and they are popular among prayer and praise Christian bands.  Many rock musicians use them as well.  Besides the necks, the tone on a Taylor guitar features a   good balance between the bass and treble.  Another innovation was the introduction of the Baby Taylor.  For years guitars for kids were cheap, junky things and basically unplayable.  Taylor fixed that by introducing small guitars for children that adults learned to like as well.  I had one for a while and they are very nice guitars even if the string spacing is a bit too tight for my hands.  They make great travel guitars.  Soon, Martin had out the Little Martin.

But lately, I'm wondering where Taylor is headed.  A few years ago they came with the acoustic-electric T series which are very good performance based instruments even if they are a bit pricy.  Now they have a whole line of solid body electrics.  Who plays those things?  Fender and Gibson had cornered the market and have for years.  Taylor is not introducing anything that is innovative with these guitars such as when they started with the low profile necks.  Not only that but the established forerunners feature better prices.  The Taylor electrics are just too high priced for what they are.  Fender and Gibson have been around for years and many great players have owned them.  Their guitars like the Stratocaster and the Les Paul feature iconic designs.  Nothing says rock and roll like a Strat.

The latest catalog for 2013 shows just about every guitar now sports onboard electronics complete with a preamp and transducer installed.  I was surprised to see this.  While amplification is a great need for preforming musicians great and small, what about us traditionalists that want to play unplugged?  Well, there's Martin who still produces a large number of acoustic guitars free of this stuff.  Gibson's acoustic guitar line and a host of other manufacturers do as well.  I own two Martins now neither of them has a pickup installed and besides they are a much better fit for where I'm at musically.  And best of all, they are both more affordable that an equivalent Taylor.

So I wonder where Taylor is going.  I have always liked them as a company.  They practice good conservation with the environment.  Robert Taylor is an innovator and his success is a classic American story.  But the marketing picture above, showing an aging hipster (Hector Penalosa, Taylor employee) with Taylor hung around his neck, could almost be a metaphor of a company that is loosing its way.  It looks silly. You would never see Martin producing such an embarrassing marketing archetype.  But then Martin seems to have a better sense of who their customers are.  (Not to mention their long and deep connection to American musical history–Williams, Elvis, Cash, Dylan, Baez, Young, Stills, etc.)  People buy acoustic guitars to sound natural, to make acoustic music.  That's why you see so many bluegrass musicians playing Martins.  I don't know of any bluegrass band that has a guitarist with a Taylor and if there is, they are few in number.

Sure, you can still buy a Taylor a la' natural, most likely used and sometimes new, maybe order a custom one with nothing onboard.  And I will add another Taylor in the future as they still make the best 12 string guitars available.  I just hope in the coming days they stick to a course of solid acoustic innovation and don't get bogged down trying to compete where giants have already tread.   Acoustic guitars are what made the company so great.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Doubtful Case of Sharon Hill

Sharon Hill, a rising star in the Skeptical community was interviewed recently on Tim Binnall’s Binnball of America show (2.5.13).  She blogs at Doubtful News.  Hill comes off in her interview as smart, knowledgeable, and certainly reasonable.  She does not appear to be a zealot though her blog postings feature the usual skeptic-style dismissals.  Hill is sort of a nicer and less annoying version of Michael Shermer, who defines himself as a skeptic but in reality is a debunker, one with an everlasting smirk.  These so-called skeptics say they practice critical thinking but even that apparently has limits.  They doubt little of anything said or published by mainstream academic science or for that matter, the government.  

One of Hill’s main points is that investigators in the paranormal or Cryptozoology are not themselves scientists or scientifically trained.  To her, the ghost hunters on TV are just guys faking science for entertainment.  Hence her term, “sciencey” as a poke against the researchers that use scientific method but are not academically trained in such methods.  There is a certain hubris with this approach.  Sharon Hill has a BS degree in geology, but she can tell us that Bigfoot isn’t real?  Nor ghosts? Nor conspiracies?  Her apparent scientific research in these matters is basically nil.  Great, a scientist that does no scientific research into the matters she writes about.  Granted, everybody has an opinion and has right to it.  We all get to!   Other than banging away at a keyboard, what research has she really done?  Apparently, none.  She also has a tendency to be like the debunkers by dissing people, such as Dr. Melba Ketchum who announced she has some DNA data before publishing her results. And she was forced to do that by a scientific Politburo that basically wouldn’t let her publish her findings to be begin with (for more info check out her interview on Coast to Coast AM--quit enlightening how this process works).  Hill wrote a piece challenging Dr. Ketchum’s work without viewing her paper.  Is this what a real skeptic does?  Or in the terms of a poster, a “pseudoskeptic.”  Which evoked a whinny response form Hill followed up by a sarcastic one before she gave up and moved on.

And then what scientists, other than Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and a few others, are really looking into this stuff?  The herd mentality, the dogma of materialism, the need for grant funding and tenure, keep most in the coral and out of the pasture.  Any who challenge the status quo are the new lepers.  So it’s often left up to non-scientists to investigate these things.  

However, there is something not quite right about this woman.  During her interview on Binnball, Hill manifests a pleasant, middle of the road approach in regards to being a skeptic dealing with issues of the paranormal, UFOs, Bigfoot, and so forth.  But you don’t see this in her blog postings.  Kind, yes, but she is still on the well trodden road of debunking anything on the fringe.  Hill states that she does not discount personal experiences that people have.  But then she sort of does.  After all, in the skeptic’s world view, a person seeing Bigfoot or a ghost is on the same strata as somebody seeing the Tooth Fairy.  And while on the topic, in one article, she posts really bad examples of Sasquatch video clips.  Notice that the Patterson film is not listed.  Of course it can’t be, it’s too good!   It’s all part of the put down of these strange events that this middle of roader skeptic can’t seem to resist. 

And really, is there anybody in the skeptic crowd that has ever believed a first-hand eye witness account from somebody claiming to have seen a Bigfoot creature?  I know of none.  or for that people that claim to see and experience a variety of things from ghosts, UFOs, unknown animals, deceased loved ones, and so on.  

Sharon Hill sums it up:

“People hesitate to accept alternatives that cause them to question their senses, memory and perception. Their interpretation tells them this happened in this way. It has become personal. Frequently, they will stubbornly refuse to reconsider, the old ‘I know what I saw’ dismissal.”

You see, these attitudes only apply when a person has something unusual happen to them.  This line of thought isn’t considered if the person witnesses a shooting star or a crime.  Of course, those things are common place but what people experience, when the going gets weird, can still be valid.  Saul knew what he saw on the road to Damascus, evidenced by the radical transformation of his new life to become Paul.  Normal people know what they see and experience, and there is no sin in being stubborn about it.  Especially if they are not insane, not on drugs, not pranksters, and have no normal inclination to experience oddball happenings.

All skeptics love to tackle conspiracy and Sharon Hill is no exception in her interview.  As she stated, “If there are no snitches were are no conspiracies.”  For somebody as highly educated as she claims to be (no Universities credited in her bio) to think like this is bewildering.  She goes on to related  the old tired cliché of, “the government can’t keep secrets.”  Oh come on!  If government can’t keep a secret then how does the CIA, NSA, ONI, Pentagon, MI6, KGB, and many others stay in operation?  How do the governments of other nations maintain their intelligent services?  I think it’s quite apparent they do (Proudy, The Secret Team) via compartmentalization (Hill denies this), NDA’s, and so forth.  Look how many JFK files are still classified.  The Navy personnel at Bethesda, after JFK’s autopsy, had to sign NDA’s or else face prison.  This is one method of how you keep people’s mouths shut.  Hill admits to being a government employee.  She doesn’t state this in her bio.  Things get muddled as she insists government plots don’t happen because of blabber mouths to later reverse course and admit that it does lie and that government conspiracies do happen.

Obviously, she is out of her league discussing any of this.  On one hand she admits government conspiracies do occur and then flips and says they are rare since people snitch too much.  She said the the government can’t keep a secret and then says it does regarding the JFK assassination.  Which is it?  I think she is trying to appear fair but often ends up with endless and needless flip-flopping.   It obvious that she is not knowledgable on lot of diverse subjects that she comments on.

People Have Real Experiences
Basically, the scientific model for reality is flawed.  There is a physical, material world and how it functions and then there is what actually happens.  And much happens outside of the model.  I have experienced this and my family and friends have was well. Most skeptics take paranormal experiences and just write it off as a fluke or a coincidence or a hoax.  But that is a faulty assumption and one generally based on materialism, that such things cannot happen anyway.

An interesting experience to relate is one had by Dave Von Ronk.  Von Ronk was a mainstay of the New York folk scene revival of the 1960‘s and was an accomplished singer and guitarist.  Part of the revival included the resurgence of older musicians that had been around for years who finally got duly recognized.  One of them was Rev. Gary Davis the blind, illiterate, yet brilliant master guitar player of blues, ragtime, and gospel.  Von Ronk had recorded one of Davis’ tunes but he knew it never sounded right.  After the Reverend died, he came to Von Ronk in a dream.  In the dream Rev. Davis told him what was wrong with the performance of the song–he had the bass lines reversed.  Armed with this knowledge, Von Ronk got out his guitar and followed the instructions.  He finally got the picking pattern correct and performed the song as Rev. Davis had intended.  This episode is the transference of knowledge about a very specific thing.  A great leap of insight that solves a problem.  Dave Von Ronk’s dream is an event that transcends time, space, even death.  

I had my experiences in the summer of 2011 with the death of my mother.  She passed in her sleep.  Odd things began to happen shortly thereafter that gradually grew into poltergeist-type activity.  In about six months it all dissipated.  I kept a journal at the time to document the incidents.  Since then, every so often, something will flare up, some oddball episode.  Just a friendly little reminder that it’s still out there–whatever it is.  

I do try to look for a rational explanation for these events.  But it usually happens when you are not paying attention.  You see a door closed, walk by, and later don’t recall closing it.  Probing the memory doesn’t help and if you think hard enough you can convince yourself you did it.  Then it happens again.  Am I having memory problems?  Then somebody you live with in the house asks, “Did you close my bedroom door last night?”  A bit of relief comes to you that at least the mind is still safe.  But then you experience that unpleasant jab that the door closed and you didn’t do it and you don’t know who or what did.  You know it’s for real now.  Especially those stints when you were in the house by yourself.  It happened then too.

Towards A More Balanced Approach
There probably isn’t a better one than that of Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, professor of  biochemistry at the University of Cambridge.  He’s one of the few scientists that takes seriously certain aspects of paranormal phenomena.  As Dr. Sheldrake says, science thinks it has answered all of the main questions and the rest is merely filling in the blanks.  He doesn’t think this is so, thinks it leads to hubris, and hence, such things as telepathy, precognition, the sense of being stared at, and dogs who know their owners are coming home (a title of one of his books.) are being properly investigated.  

His latest book, Science Set Free, examines these issues in a fair and balanced way in critiquing the dogma of scientific materialism:  

“According to these principles, all of reality is material or physical; the world is a machine, made up of inanimate matter; nature is purposeless; consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain; free will is an illusion; God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.”

Now that is a good example of true skepticism!  

Materialism is the main theme of Science Set Free.  The original title was The Science Delusion.  An awful title as Dr. Sheldrake doesn’t mean science is a delusion only that the steadfast belief in materialism dominates scientific sentiment.  Hence, the investigation of ghosts and other paranormal phenomena is just silly superstitious stuff not worthy of further inquiry by them.  Then people like Sharon Hill come along to diss investigators as rank amateurs.  Well, the pros won’t show up!

And So...
I am a firm believer that we need a rational look at everything we are told these days since we are lied to about nearly everything.  I don’t know if Bigfoot is out there or if UFOs are from outer space, inner space or parts in between.  I only know that we all experience things that are outside of the model we have for reality.  On the other hand, it’s not possible to research in great depth everything we are told or read about.  I love science.  It’s one of the great enterprises of mankind.  Just don’t tell me everything is science is so factually based if you are going present theory and conjecture as the truth.  Dark matter and dark energy are two examples of that.  Two things that can’t be measured, tested, or imaged. Yet physicist Dr. Michio Kaku tells us on his radio program, Science of the Fantastic, about the day scientists “discovered” it.  Ha!  It’s a theory for heaven’s sake!   One bound in mathematical abstraction and often presented as fact. They have discovered nothing of any real substance.  It's nothing more than hi-tech myth making.

I direct you to Steve Volk’s excellent article, Spanking the Skeptics (linked below) where he addresses comments made about him by the condescending know-it-alls at the radio program, Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe.  Volk illustrates how their world view of paranormal believers is so skewed they make broad generalized assumptions that are not true.  What results is a major slap down of these nerds.

Skepticism is a good thing.  But it needs to be applied fairly.  It doesn’t need to be turned into a profession as some have done.  Science doesn’t explain everything and it's not helped by narrow minded materialism.


Sharon Hill Blog.

Web site.

Tim Binnall’s web site and radio show links.

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, Science Set Free (in UK, The Science Delusion).

Also available on Kindle and iBooks

Sharon Hill’s thin skin response.

Steve Volk’s article, Spanking the Skeptics

Coast to Coast AM broadcoast featuring news reporter Linda Moulton Howe and her interview with Melba Ketchum.  Needs subscription for listening.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Getty Images Extracts Revenge

In a move that shocked many in the Microstock community, one of iStockphoto’s top contributors, Sean Locke announced on his web site Monday that Getty Images had given him his 30-day notice on February 8.  Locke, one of the sellers with over 12,000 files in his portfolio, and nearly million sold licenses was essentially booted off the site.  Why?

As I reported in January (link), it was Sean Locke that posted on the iStockphoto forums his discovery of a deal between Getty/iStock to place images on the Google Drive service.  This deal was never announced to iStock image makers.  As soon as Locke posted Google deal all hell broke loose.  It raised a myriad questions regarding copyrights, license agreements, and fairness since these files were coming from iStock and not Getty photographers.

So angry were contributors that a movement arose to delete portfolios slated for February 2.  One thing that made this easier was a file deletion screen created by Locke.  It is unknown how much damaged this did but apparently somebody in  Getty management took notice.

As Locke points out on his blog he suddenly started getting emails Getty, one in which demanded to know what his goals at iStock were.  Locke stated that he was asked if he was trying to “distract key resources away from improving the business...and...undermine customer faith,” or “create a constructive dialogue.”  An odd thing to ask somebody who has helped generate over a million dollars in sales for them.  After some back and forth, he was told they didn’t like how he handled Google Drive, which was basically to report what they didn’t want to tell the contributors–that Getty had made what amounts to a shady deal with Google involving ambiguous issues of copyrights, user agreement violations, and the whole thing has never been properly explained.  Getty shows how little respect they have for the very people that create sales at iStock

Getty Goes Fishing
Eventually, Getty came up with other issues to use against Locke.  One was an alleged violation of his exclusivity but signing up with another stock site, Stocksy, that is still in beta and not fully functional.  Locke says he hasn’t sold anything through them and was just posting a few files for testing and research purposes on the site and did not view this as a violation of any agreement.  There is no way to currently sell anything through the site and it is currently only available via invitation.  Only a landing page is available so sales are obviously impossible.

Secondly, Locke says Getty accused him of being a ring leader for the February 2nd file deactivation day.  As Locke says in his defense, “I didn’t start it, never said I was going to participate it, and never actively encouraged anyone to participate in it, although I did encourage everyone to study the available  facts and make a decision on what they felt was appropriate action.  In fact, I sent several emails the week prior to iStockphoto/Getty managers to initiate a phone conversation, thinking I could provide suggestions on how to defuse the situation.”

The Shock of the New
Corporations have been known to play hardball in the past.  Just check out the historical rise of American industry at the start of the last century and check these guys out, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, and so forth.  They played some serious hardball.

With Getty in this episode, to sack Sean Locke, a top image seller, using what amounts to trumped up charges, a person greatly admired by others, someone that was known as a positive influence and an authority on many subjects, it all takes on a Machiavellian overtone. It’s one thing to be this thuggish but here we have on display a company that has no honor.  Plain and simple, this act was done for revenge.  They couldn’t handle Locke uncovering their machinations behind everybody's back.  While it is true he continually criticized management of this issue in the iStock forums, he also asked a lot of questions that went unanswered.  That they didn’t want to answer about this tawdry deal.  It shows what lengths a company will precede to go after somebody.  If they can do this to him, which for a while ruins his livelihood, they can do it to you as well.

It’s a reckless move as well on many different levels.  It damages contributor relations, morale, and trust.  (Not that they care about that.) And buyers, why would you want to buy images from such an outfit?  And being exclusive?  Why bother putting your eggs in their basket?  If you run afoul of them they’ll toss you out in the street.

Addendum 2/16/13
An article about his mess is published HERE at Cnet by Stephen Shankland.  He stated in the piece that Sean Locke was not “immediately” available for comment.  However, Locke stated on the Microstock Forum site that he was never contacted by Shankland or anybody associated with Cnet.  Shankland also said that Bruce Livingston, co-founder of iStock and currently working on a new stock site, Stocksy, was not available for comment either.  I wonder if Livingston would have a similar statement as well?   Welcome to lazy journalism in the 21st century...

UPDATE (3/2/13) - Sean Locke has reported that the Stephen Shankland did attempt contact but only via Twitter, something that Locke says he rarely uses.  Odd as his email adress is available on his web site.  He's not hard to find.


Friday, January 25, 2013

The Lonesome Death of Aaron Swartz

“Information is power.  But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.” 
Aaron Swartz

So begins the dramatic story of a computer whiz kid’s untimely death and the overzealous prosecutor’s tactics in the case.  

Aaron Swartz, a young and brilliant programmer gained fame on the internet for co-developing the Rich Site Summary (RSS) which allows users to receive and read timely updates from web sites and blogs.  A bit of a rebel, Swartz was also a proponent of open access of everything on the Internet, and founded Demand Progress, which called for an end to Internet censorship bills (such as, SOPA/PIPA, which he played a key role in defeating).

Swartz’s crime?  On January 6, 2011 he arrested by the Feds for supposedly downloading thousands of academic journal articles from JSTOR.  The Federal prosecutors alleged they were worth millions of dollars.  And what is JSTOR?

Here’s a good description of JSTOR by science journalist Yoichi Shimatsu:

“The JSTOR archive is not owned or based at MIT, as media reports suggest, but is registered at the Network Connections server farm in Herndon, Maryland.  JSTOR is under the control of a nonprofit organization called ITHAKA, whose board of directors includes top university administrators and the W.W. Norton book publisher.”

Ironically, Aaron Swartz had a paid subscription to JSTOR, so he was hardly stealing anything.  JSTOR got all of the journals back, none were released out in the wild, none were sold by Swartz, and they never pressed any charges (though MIT did).  The Feds went hell for leather after Swartz with a possible 35-year prison sentence and over a million dollars in fines.  One thing that Swartz hated about JSTOR is that all of the authors of the scholarly journals are not paid, but their publishers are.  Lost in all of this is what Swartz was going to do with the journals.

The devil in red.  U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz

Carmen Ortiz
And who was the lead on this?  Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. Christian Stork in his article, Carmen Ortiz Sordid Rap Sheet give a quick overview on one paragraph of Ortiz’s actions:

“Despite JSTOR’s subsequent securing of the ‘stolen’ content and refusal to press charges, Swartz was arrested by the feds and charged originally with four felony counts under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. On those charges alone, Swartz was facing a possible 35-year sentence and over $1,000,000 in fines. Just three months ago, a ‘Superseding Indictment’ filed in the case by the U.S. attorney’s office upped the felony count from four to 13. If convicted, Swartz was looking at possibly over 50 years in prison: a conceivable life sentence.”

Stork goes on to document some of the Carmen Ortiz’s intrigues as a U.S. Attorney, particularly her attempt to take the motel property of one, Russ Caswell under the criminal forfeiture laws.  It seems there were 15 drug busts at the motel over a 14-year period.  According to Stork, a DEA agent examines property documents looking for real estate with numerous drug busts to basically seize, presumably in the name of the “public good.”  This is an example of why the criminal forfeiture laws are so wrong–it results in the government coveting property and basically stealing it.  In this case a seedy motel valued at over a million dollars, made even sweeter since it had no liens on it.  And even more unfair, just up the street from Coswell’s motel is a Motel 6, with far more drug arrests on that property.  You catch the drift...Motel 6 is a large corporate chain, they are the untouchables.  It’s the little guy they want to go after.  And Ortiz has a pattern of such schemes.  

The case is ongoing but shows a pattern of Carmen Ortiz’s nasty prosecutorial  behavior.  Namely, to come down heavy on the small fry.  

Back To Aaron
The curious thing is, why did they come down so hard on this guy?  What he did was minor compared to other goings on and it makes one wonder what kind of case the Fed’s had that work result in a conviction.  If he is guilty of anything it was trespass in a university server closet.  Aaron started out with 4 counts but Carmen Ortiz upped it to 13.  What?  And all for files that were returned to the owner with no charges filed by the owner.   It doesn’t make sense.   It should be noted that Swartz never pled guilty to any of the charges nor would accept a plea deal.  The Feds hate that.  It means they will have to work so harder to prove the charges against a defendant.  

On January 14 Aaron Swartz was found hanging in his apartment.  Curiously, another hacking case covered by a Carmen Ortiz colleague, Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann, also resulted in a suicide of a teenage hacker Jonathan James, who was an unindicted co-conspirator in an earlier computer hacking case.  I’m just saying...

If Swartz was so confident in winning his case by not opting to plea bargain then would he despair enough to hang himself?  It’s been claimed he had a history of mental problems but I haven’t uncovered anything on that yet.  But that’s the usual M.O. for these situations.  The wicked have learned the best way to murder somebody is either to make it appear as an accident or a suicide. I should be noted that friends that saw him the day before his death said he was talkative and smiling.

The Book Has Been Thrown
No doubt, the government came down very hard on Aaron Swartz.  Severe enough warren concern and heavy criticism of Ortiz’s actions.  So far I’ve read some interesting theories as to what really went down.  One, written by Yoichi Shimatsu (previously mentioned) is that Swartz in the server closet had stumbled over a massive child porn network being run through MIT.  That’s pretty far out.  Shimatsu, writing from Hong Kong, names one man who I won’t mention here, as it’s an open invitation for libel in this country.  Just read his article listed in my sources to find out who.

Never the less, for the authorities to go after Swartz like this does give the appearance of something more to the story, some behind the scenes machinations that Swartz stumbled upon.

I think the trouble with people such as Aaron Swartz, Gary Webb, or even Andrew Breitbart is they want to play ball with the Big Boys, speaking truth to power.  But they don’t have a backup plan. I would have a path of flight arranged with a packed bag, stay close to home, avoid strangers, and possibly have access to a weapon.  Being a public figure is no longer protection from serious harm.  And being paranoid for a person like a Swartz or a Breitbart could be healthy.  It’s not like these guys can ride in with the white hats on and win the day in a fair fight.  Do they really think the Big Boys wouldn’t dare to go after them?  

They are the untouchables my friends, not you.

Addendum 2/20/13
FBI tracked Aaron Swartz, new files show.  LINK

Addendum 2/6/13
Photos of server closet that Aaron Swartz is supposed to have used.

Addendum 1/26/13
On 1/25/13, U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein tossed out the Russ Caswell motel case.  Yay!  LINK


Aaron Swartz web site with links.

Christian Stork.

Freedom Rider: The State Killing of Aaron Swartz by Margaret Kimberley.  A highly recommended read.

Yoichi Shimatsu.

Alleged downloads by Aaron Swartz.

Notes on his death.

Carmen Ortiz’s office doubles down.

Feds go overboard in prosecuting information activist.

Ortiz’s Husband makes snarky comments on Twitter.