Thursday, May 30, 2013

Maybe I'm just a Sucker for Book Blurbs...

...but I couldn't resist this one by George Gilder, whom Rabbi Klinghoffer describes as "a techno-utopian economist and New York Times bestselling author," who says about Darwin's Doubt:
I spend my life reading science books. I've read many hundreds of them over the years, and in my judgment Darwin's Doubt is the best science book ever written. It is a magnificent work, a true masterpiece that will be read for hundreds of years.
I'll try to read my pre-ordered copy early and let you know if I agree with Mr. Gilder.

UPDATE:  Doh!  It turns out Mr. Gilder is co-founder of the Discovery Institute.  Dang.  Oh well, it's only $16.95, and I'm supposed to be an ID advocate, anyway.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Who Own's Iraq's Oil?

From an article by Antonia Juhasz, Why the War In Iraq was Fought for Big Oil:

It has been 10 years since Operation Iraqi Freedom's bombs first landed in Baghdad. And while most of the U.S.-led coalition forces have long since gone, Western oil companies are only getting started.
Before the 2003 invasion, Iraq's domestic oil industry was fully nationalized and closed to Western oil companies. A decade of war later, it is largely privatized and utterly dominated by foreign firms.
Antonia Juhasz
Antonia Juhasz
From ExxonMobil and Chevron to BP and Shell, the West's largest oil companies have set up shop in Iraq. So have a slew of American oil service companies, including Halliburton, the Texas-based firm Dick Cheney ran before becoming George W. Bush's running mate in 2000.
The war is the one and only reason for this long sought and newly acquired access.
Oil was not the only goal of the Iraq War, but it was certainly the central one, as top U.S. military and political figures have attested to in the years following the invasion.
"Of course it's about oil; we can't really deny that," said Gen. John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command and Military Operations in Iraq, in 2007. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan agreed, writing in his memoir, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." Then-Sen. and now Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel said the same in 2007: "People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are."

For the first time in about 30 years, Western oil companies are exploring for and producing oil in Iraq from some of the world's largest oil fields and reaping enormous profit. And while the U.S. has also maintained a fairly consistent level of Iraq oil imports since the invasion, the benefits are not finding their way through Iraq's economy or society.

These outcomes were by design, the result of a decade of U.S. government and oil company pressure. In 1998,Kenneth Derr, then CEO of Chevron, said, "Iraq possesses huge reserves of oil and gas-reserves I'd love Chevron to have access to." Today it does.  Read more.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Did the ATF Destroy the Evidence at Fertilizer Plant Explosion?

If you've seen the video of the fertilizer plant explosion, you know that a strange bright light from the left approaches the plant a split second prior to the explosion. If it was a missile of some kind, chemical or physical residues of it might be left in the debris, and chemical analysis of the site might reveal it. But now the Chemical Safety Board (the agency probably most qualified to chemically analyze the site), has claimed that they have been prevented from doing their job. Further, they claim that evidence has been removed from the site, after their request to examine it:

“Access was denied at first, then it was limited thereafter, then it was denied again. Generally to get access, our investigators and experts had to be assigned to ATF work teams, where they often given shovels and rakes and assigned to labor tasks sifting debris, for whatever objects ATF was interested in. They had very little access to to the site for the purposes of the CSB investigation. From May 13 onward ATF denied us any access ‘until further notice’ and that has remained the status to the present day.

There was one block of AN that disappeared after we indicated we wanted to sample it. Additionally ATF removed the fertilizer materials that survived in the bins before we could sample any. We were not permitted to draw our own samples of the surviving material in the bins. We understand ATF conducted some form of testing, but we have not received any results.

We did obtain some samples but other chemical materials of interest were removed after we indicated we wanted to sample them.

Concerning the tour of Dr. Moure-Eraso, this occurred on the afternoon of Thursday, May 2.  It involved Dr. Moure-Eraso, Daniel Horowitz, Don Holmstrom, and some senior ATF and SFM officials.  It was essentially a ceremonial, perimeter tour of about one hour, similar to those previously provided to various elected officials and members of the news media. Dr. Moure and the various ATF/SFM personnel walked along the periphery of the site, on the railway grade (where many trains pass each day and can observe the site) and from there they briefly overlooked the crater and some other parts of the site from a distance.

This was not comparable to in-depth site access and evidence collection for our investigators and experts, which would be a multi-week or month process. From May 13 onward, all site access was denied ‘until further notice’ per the email of the ATF supervisor, and that has remained the situation since then. We are not aware of anything that precipitated this change on site access; we certainly didn’t do anything to prompt it, and the May 4 agreement specifically had specifically stated the CSB would have site access.”

UPDATE: My hypothesis that the Boston Bombing and Ricin Letters were diversions so that most people wouldn't pay much attention to the West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion seems to be holding up rather well. If one looks at stories in conspiracy theorists' websites, the Boston Bombing takes up the most space. It's difficult to find mention of the other two stories.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Proposal for Independent Study of the WTC Dust

From Debunking the Debunkers:

Proposal for Independent Study of the WTC Dust - Using an Independent Lab that has No Idea that the Dust is From the WTC or From 9/11 (Donate)

Chemical Engineer Mark Basile proposes a blind study into the WTC dust:

A "blind" study is when the technicians performing the test have no idea what the purpose of the test is or where the testing samples came from, so that they will not unconsciously influence results.
In previous analyses of the dust by independent 911 investigators, iron microspheres were found - something that could not be created by jet fuel or office fire - plus there were also unreacted red/grey chips that ignited in a thermitic (incendiary) fashion to produce iron spheres.

This physical evidence shows that Thermitic materials, which are sometimes used by the military to demolish equipment - and have been used to dismantle steel structures in the past - were present in the buildings on 911.

Along with the collapse features of the Towers and WTC7, plus the evidence of eyewitnesses to explosions and melted steel, we can see that explosive and incendiary devices must have been used.

Please donate a few dollars to Mark Basile's blind study by following his green highlighted link on his webpage. Do not be concerned about Government interference since the tests will be monitored.

Related info:

The Great Thermite Debate

Monday, May 20, 2013

Is Physiology Rocking the Foundations of Evolutionary Biology?

This looks interesting: Physiology is Rocking the Foundations of Evolutionary Biology:

 "New Findings 
•  What is the Topic of this review? Have recent experimental findings in evolutionary biology concerning the transmission of inheritance opened the way to a reintegration of physiology with evolutionary biology?
 •  What advances does it highlight? The answer is yes, and that this requires a new synthesis between evolutionary theory and experimental physiology. 

The ‘Modern Synthesis’ (Neo-Darwinism) is a mid-20th century gene-centric view of evolution, based on random mutations accumulating to produce gradual change through natural selection. Any role of physiological function in influencing genetic inheritance was excluded. The organism became a mere carrier of the real objects of selection, its genes. We now know that genetic change is far from random and often not gradual. Molecular genetics and genome sequencing have deconstructed this unnecessarily restrictive view of evolution in a way that reintroduces physiological function and interactions with the environment as factors influencing the speed and nature of inherited change. Acquired characteristics can be inherited, and in a few but growing number of cases that inheritance has now been shown to be robust for many generations. The 21st century can look forward to a new synthesis that will reintegrate physiology with evolutionary biology."

HT: Uncommon Descent, Nullasullus

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Does Anthropogenic Global Warming Mean That We Are Really "Screwed"?

I haven't had much to say about the whole global warming debate, partly out of not wanting to reveal my vast ignorance, but also because I've suspected that I'm not alone in being this ignorant. A recent article in The Atlantic proves my point. It's entitled, We're Screwed: 11,000 Years' Worth of Climate Data Prove It.

In the article they provide two graphs: One showing average temperatures going back 2,000 years, and one showing average temperatures going back 11,000 years. The second graph is the more interesting. It shows a gradual rise in temperatures until about 7,000 years ago, and then a gradual decline in temperatures until about a hundred years ago, when temperatures started to rise rapidly.

Now I'm willing to believe that the reason for the rapid rise in temperatures is anthropogenic greenhouse gases. What I wonder about is the assertion that this means that we are "screwed." What I just learned myself is that we are currently living in an ice age that started about 2.6 million years ago. The last glacial period ended about 12,500 years ago. It lasted about 100,000 years. And apparently we've been in a cycle of glacial periods lasting for about 100,000 years, followed by warm periods lasting about 10,000 to 15,000 years during much of our current ice age. So when I look at that second chart, I wonder, "Were we headed into another glacial period?  Did our anthropogenic greenhouse gases save us from catastrophy?"  For one thing I do  know is that we do not want another glacial period. The human race would certainly be "screwed" then.

What isn't clear to me is that continued output of greenhouse gases will screw us, or screw us as badly as a glacial period. For example, some scientists think that we are about to experience a reduced amount of sunspot activity and that we will have another little ice age. I don't know if they're right, or if they're just payed employees of oil companies, spewing more propaganda. I do know that reduced growing seasons is something we don't want, especially with seven billion mouths to feed. Compared to the risk of global cooling, tell me again why global warming is so much worse.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jesus's Clever Way to Say, "I am the Messiah"?

I've been wondering about the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Could this have been Jesus's first public messianic proclamation (relying on his Jewish audience's connecting it to the Zecharaiah prophecy*)?  Is it probable that the Jewish audience would have recognized the messianic proclamation, but that the Roman authorities wouldn't have understood it?  Would the Roman authorities have understood the crowd's palm branches and chanting of "son of David" and "Hosannah" as messianic?  Or would they have thought that it was just some sort of strange greeting for a weird religious dude riding on a donkey?   If they wouldn't have recognized the messianic implications, then did Jesus find a clever way to say to his Jewish audience, "I am the Messiah," without tipping off the Romans?  

Further, would this leave the Temple authorities in a dilemma?  Do they inform the Roman authorities, who would try to arrest Jesus and perhaps cause a riot?  Do they themselves try to arrest Jesus and perhaps also cause a riot?  Do they do nothing and hope Jesus does nothing?  Do they hope for an opportunity to arrest him in secret, so there's no danger of a riot? 

Even further, would Jesus be clever enough to know that he had put the Temple authorities in such a dilemma?   Would Jesus now be in charge of events for the last week of his life?  Remaining in the safety of the crowd, until it left in the evening, and he along with it?  Choosing to remain in Jerusalem Passover night at a secret location, and then retire to the seclusion of the garden and wait for the Temple authorities to take advantage of their golden opportunity? 

*"Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,

    on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
(Zechariah 9:9)

How Many People Would Need to be in the Know if 9/11 was an Inside Job?

In my discussions with doubters of the view that 9/11 was an inside job, the argument they often raise is that it would have been impossible to keep such a vast conspiracy a secret. Inevitably, I ask them how vast they think it would need to have been. So far, none of them has given me any answer at all. You would think that at least one of them had come up with some sort of estimate. It turns out that an estimate was arrived at, but not by a doubter, but by a 9/11 Truther: Jim Hoffman, of 9-11 Research. Long ago he offered the hypothetical Attack Scenario 404: How the Attack Might Have Been Engineered (But Probably Wasn't), which would have taken about a dozen people. As he described it:

" This scenario shows that, through their positions of access in the military command structure, a very small group of people would have been able to appropriate these technologies to carry out the attack. While the attack is engineered by a core of only a dozen people, vast numbers of people facilitate the attack and cover-up, for the most part unknowingly, by simply doing what they normally do in their positions: promote and protect their agencies and the status quo. The public at large participates in the cover-up by failing to question the attack and instead believing the relatively comforting myth of bin Laden."

 If only a dozen people or so were really in the know, it doesn't seem at all implausible that it was kept a secret. In fact, I imagine two or three dozen people could have known, without leaks occuring.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"The United States was Founded on a Conspiracy Theory"

I've begun reading Professor of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University's, Lance deHaven-Smith's, Conspiracy Theory in America. I'm only in the Introduction, and already enjoying his interesting take on conspiracy theories. This for example:

    "Those who now dismiss conspiracy theories as groundless paranoia havre apparently forgotten that the United States was founded on a conspiracy theory. The Declaration of Independence claimed that 'a history of repeated injuries and usurpations' by King George proved the king was plotting to establish 'an absolute tyranny over these states.' Today, most Americans are familiar only with the Declaration's opening paragraphs about self-evident truths and inalienable rights, but if they were to read the rest of the document, they would see that it is devoted to detailing the abuses evincing the king's tyrannical design. Among the complaints listed are onerous taxation, fomenting slave rebellions and Indian uprisings, taxation without representation, and indifference to the colonies' complaints. The document's signers claimed it was this 'design to reduce them under absolute despotism,' not any or all of the abuses themselves, that gave them the right and the duty 'to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.
    "The Founders considered political power a corrupting influence that makes political conspiracies against the people's interests and liberties almost inevitable. They repeatedly and explicitly called for popular vigilance against anti-democratic schemes in high office. Educated in classical political philosophy, they understood that one of the most important questions in Western political thought is how to prevent top leaders from abusing their powers to impose arbitrary rule, which the Founders referred to appropriately as 'tyranny.' Whereas Great Britain relied on common law to define the powers and procedures of its government, the generation that established the American republic developed a written constitution to set clear limits on public officials. Nevertheless, they understood that all constitutions are vulnerable to subversion because ultimately they are interpreted and administered by public officials themselves. The Founders would view today's norms against conspiratorial suspicion as not only arrogant, but also dangerous and un-American." 

UPDATE: I've already argued that first followers of Jesus were conspiracy theorists. It's nice to know that both my religion and my political philosophy are consistent with what their founders thought.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Was Fertilizer Plant a Victim of Monsanto? Musings of a Conspiracy Theorist.

So there are some youtube videos that make you wonder if the fertilizer plant that exploded in West Texas was hit by a rocket or missile of some kind. For example, there's this one.

Then you find out that there were emergency drills scheduled for the next day in this area. So then you ask yourself, why would someone want to destroy the fertilizer plant with a rocket or missile?

Then you find out the corporate giant Monsanto was being sued by the fertilizer plant.

Then you find out that Monsanto controls 93% of the soybeans and 86% of the corn grown in the U.S.  And you think to yourself, "Wow! That Monsanto feller sure can pull a lot of strings!"

Then you ask yourself, were the Boston bombing and ricin letters just diversions so people wouldn't look too closely at the fertilizer plant?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

FBI and CIA Employees Responsible for 9/11 Failures Are Rewarded and Promoted

From the History Commons 9/11 Timeline:

FBI Director Robert Mueller personally awards Marion (Spike) Bowman with a presidential citation and cash bonus of approximately 25 percent of his salary.[SALON, 3/3/2003] Bowman, head of the FBI’s national security law unit and the person who refused to seek a special warrant for a search of Zacarias Moussaoui’s belongings before the 9/11 attacks (see August 28, 2001), is among nine recipients of bureau awards for “exceptional performance.” The award comes shortly after a 9/11 Congressional Inquiry report saying Bowman’s unit gave Minneapolis FBI agents “inexcusably confused and inaccurate information” that was “patently false.” [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 12/22/2002] Bowman’s unit was also involved in the failure to locate 9/11 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi after their names were put on a watch list (see August 28-29, 2001). In early 2000, the FBI acknowledged serious blunders in surveillance Bowman’s unit conducted during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, including agents who illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission, and recorded the wrong phone conversations. [ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/10/2003] As Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others have pointed out, not only has no one in government been fired or punished for 9/11, but several others have been promoted: [SALON, 3/3/2003] 
bullet Richard Blee, chief of Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, was made chief of the CIA’s new Kabul station in December 2001 (see December 9, 2001), where he aggressively expanded the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program (see Shortly After December 19, 2001). Blee was the government’s main briefer on al-Qaeda threats in the summer of 2001, but failed to mention that one of the 9/11 hijackers was in the US (see August 22-September 10, 2001). 
bullet In addition to Blee, the CIA also promoted his former director for operations at Alec Station, a woman who took the unit’s number two position. This was despite the fact that the unit failed to put the two suspected terrorists on the watch list (see August 23, 2001). “The leaders were promoted even though some people in the intelligence community and in Congress say the counterterrorism unit they ran bore some responsibility for waiting until August 2001 to put the suspect pair on the interagency watch list.” CIA Director George Tenet has failed to fulfill a promise given to Congress in late 2002 that he would name the CIA officials responsible for 9/11 failures. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/15/2003] 
bullet Pasquale D’Amuro, the FBI’s counterterrorism chief in New York City before 9/11, was promoted to the bureau’s top counterterrorism post. [TIME, 12/30/2002] 
bullet FBI Supervisory Special Agent Michael Maltbie, who removed information from the Minnesota FBI’s application to get the search warrant for Moussaoui, was promoted to field supervisor and goes on to head the Joint Terrorism Task Force at the FBI’s Cleveland office. [SALON, 3/3/2003NEWSDAY, 3/21/2006] 
bullet David Frasca, head of the FBI’s Radical Fundamentalist Unit, is “still at headquarters,” Grassley notes. [SALON, 3/3/2003] The Phoenix memo, which was addressed to Frasca, was received by his unit and warned that al-Qaeda terrorists could be using flight schools inside the US (see July 10, 2001 and July 27, 2001 and after). Two weeks later Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested while training to fly a 747, but Frasca’s unit was unhelpful when local FBI agents wanted to search his belongings—a step that could have prevented 9/11 (see August 16, 2001 andAugust 20-September 11, 2001). “The Phoenix memo was buried; the Moussaoui warrant request was denied.” [TIME, 5/27/2002] Even after 9/11, Frasca continued to “[throw] up roadblocks” in the Moussaoui case. [NEW YORK TIMES, 5/27/2002] 
bullet Dina Corsi, an intelligence operations specialist in the FBI’s bin Laden unit in the run-up to 9/11, later became a supervisory intelligence analyst. [US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, 11/2004, PP. 279-280 pdf fileCNN, 7/22/2005] Corsi repeatedly hampered the investigation of Almihdhar and Alhazmi in the summer of 2001 (see June 11, 2001,June 12-September 11, 2001Before August 22, 2001August 27-28, 2001August 28, 2001August 28-29, 2001, and (September 5, 2001)). 

bullet President Bush later names Barbara Bodine the director of Central Iraq shortly after the US conquest of Iraq. Many in government are upset about the appointment because of her blocking of the USS Cole investigation, which some say could have uncovered the 9/11 plot (see October 14-Late November, 2000). She did not apologize or admit she was wrong. [WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/10/2003]However, she is fired after about a month, apparently for doing a poor job. 
bullet An FBI official who tolerates penetration of the translation department by Turkish spies and encourages slow translations just after 9/11 was promoted (seeMarch 22, 2002). [CBS NEWS, 10/25/2002]

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seeing the Washington FBI through the Eyes of a Whistleblower

I've been reading the History Commons 9/11 Timeline for events related to FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds.  Begin reading at the time she was hired on September 20, 2001, as a translator for the FBI, and you may also come to gradually feel like your swimming in a cesspool of corruption that seems to pervade the entire Washington bureau of the FBI. After a while all I wanted to do was take a shower to somehow cleanse myself of the filth that seemed to cling to every part of me. I found myself thinking that if things were really this bad throughout Washington, blowing up a couple of buildings in New York City would be small potatoes.

Another Iron Man 3 Interpretation Relevant to 9/11? Spoiler Alert.

If you haven't seen "Iron Man 3" yet, you might want to skip this post. So in the movie, there's a deal between the bad guy and the Vice President of the United States. The bad guy will kill the President, and the Vice President will do business with the bad guy. What's interesting is that, as Wikipedia points out, there is evidence that there may have been an assasination attempt on President George W. Bush's life on 9/11:

 "September 11, 2001: On the morning of the September 11 attacks, President George W. Bush was at the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort on Longboat Key, Florida.[38] He woke up around 6:00 AM and prepared for his morning jog.[39][40] Men of apparent Middle Eastern descent arrived at the Colony Beach Resort and claimed they had a "poolside" interview with the President. Lacking an appointment, they were turned away.[41] Time magazine suggested they were there for an assassination attempt modeled on one used against the Northern Alliance military leader Ahmed Massoud two days earlier.[42] Witnesses have recalled seeing 9/11 hijacker ringleader Mohamed Atta in the Longboat Key Holiday Inn a short distance from where Bush was staying as recently as September 7, the day Bush's Sarasota appearance was publicly announced.[43][44]"

 If there really was an attempt to kill Bush, Dick Cheney would have become our President officially, not just virtually.

And now the other spoiler:

 The Mandarin isn't the real bad guy.  He's just an actor that is used as a front by the real bad guy, who wants to sell weapons to our government.  After we discover this, there is even a line about Osama bin Laden.  I need to see the movie again to remember the exact quote, but if I remember correctly, it even states that bin Laden was just a mask for the real power behind the terrorist attacks.

 So was "Iron Man 3" trying to tell us whom we should really blame for 9/11?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Osama bin Laden: The Iron Man III Interpretation

No, I'm not going to tell you what it is.  You'll have to go see the movie (a Robert Downey, Jr. movie is always worth seeing) or let someone else spoil it for you.  But it's not far from my own interpretation.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Fruits of Terrorism: The U.S. Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald has written an excellent article on the U.S. Surveillance State.  My favorite part:

"Strangely, back in 2002 - when hysteria over the 9/11 attacks (and thus acquiescence to government power) was at its peak - the Pentagon's attempt to implement what it called the "Total Information Awareness" program (TIA) sparked so much public controversy that it had to be official scrapped. But it has been incrementally re-instituted - without the creepy (though honest) name and all-seeing-eye logo - with little controversy or even notice.
Back in 2010, worldwide controversy erupted when the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates banned the use of Blackberries because some communications were inaccessible to government intelligence agencies, and that could not be tolerated. The Obama administration condemned this move on the ground that it threatened core freedoms, only to turn around six weeks later and demand that all forms of digital communications allow the US government backdoor access to intercept them. Put another way, the US government embraced exactly the same rationale invoked by the UAE and Saudi agencies: that no communications can be off limits. Indeed, the UAE, when responding to condemnations from the Obama administration, noted that it was simply doing exactly that which the US government does...."
HT: Debunking the Debunkers. UPDATE: There really was an Information Awareness Office, and they really did use that creepy logo.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

1900 Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, now.

Typing in the link will get you the most recent total (it pops up after a couple of seconds).  For some reason my sidebar link didn't do it. I tried to fix it but just made it worse. So now, if each of the 1900 or so A&Es gives $2.50, that will more than cover the cost of Mark Basile's proposed blind study of the WTC dust.