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Will There Be a Terrorist Attack At Moogfest?

Today sees the beginning of Moogfest down in Ashville, North Carolina. It’s a multi-day event that synthesizes the intersection of technology and art.

Moogfest sounds like a lot of fun. Yet, according to one conspiracy theorist, the festival could become a bloodbath.

David Chase Taylor, who writes under the pseudonym “Truther”, warns that “there is now the possibility that terror-related event like a gun-related massacre may occur” at Moogfest.

moogfest terrorism conspiracy theory

What’s the basis for Taylor’s prediction? Governor Pat McCrory has canceled his appearance at Moogfest. Taylor suggests that it’s reasonable to conclude that Governor McCrory has decided not to go to Moogfest because McCrory is part of an international conspiracy involving Barack Obama to create a civil war in the United States through a purposefully planned attack by gunmen who are set up to falsely appear as foreign terrorists. It’s a false flag attack against Moogfest that’s coming, says Taylor…

…or not. Taylor places the following disclaimer on the bottom of his article: “Terror alerts and warnings made by Truther.org DO NOT necessarily imply that these terror events will transpire in reality.”

Really? How does it not imply that a terrorist attack will transpire in reality when Taylor writes, “It’s possible that McCrory’s timely ‘scheduling conflict’ was executed in order to draw unprecedented media attention to Moogfest as well as imply that he is ‘in the know’ about a future attack. Since the Obama administration is desperately trying to spark a civil war in America, nothing would do more for this cause than a Southern governor who was as accessory to a false-flag massacre in which hundreds of North Carolina teens were killed.”

David Chase Taylor is clearly implying that he believes that the Governor of North Carolina and the President of the United States are planning to murder large numbers of Americans in order to provoke a civil war. It’s ridiculous for Taylor to claim otherwise.

But then, it’s not a surprise for Taylor to make a ridiculous claim. The logic underlying his claims about Pat McCrory and Barack Obama’s supposed false flag operation represents a mind willing to indulge in wild fantasies of ever-present conspiracies.

Taylor’s argument is based upon the presumption that whenever a political leader cancels an appointment, it is because the leader is helping to arrange a terrorist attack against his or her constituents. According to this logic, when some British Columbia schools canceled recess recently, it must have been because school leaders were planning to go on a shooting spree on the playground. According to this logic, when the Liverpool city council canceled the presentation of an independent report, it’s a sign that the council is part of a plot to gun down the local government. According to this logic, when Miley Cyrus canceled some concerts, it’s probably because she knows about a terrorist plan to bomb the stadiums where she was scheduled to sing.

This logic may seem weird, but David Chase Taylor has found a way to stitch the gaping hole in his thinking tight shut. He claims that any time he predicts a terrorist attack, he is simultaneously preventing the terrorist attack from taking place. Taylor believes that terrorists around the world, and the American political leaders they work for, stamp their feet in frustration whenever he publishes a blog article describing a tenuous thread between them and murderous atrocities in the future. “Historically speaking, once a false-flag terror plot is exposed (e.g., 2011 Super Bowl Nuclear Terror Plot), it is immediately canceled or postponed,” he writes.

By this reasoning, when Taylor’s predictions don’t come true, it’s a sign that the predictions were accurate, and that Taylor is a super-powerful writer who has the unique ability to stop the conspiracies that he describes merely by writing about them. How could you ever prove such an argument wrong?

Danger! Asteroids Are Not Blowing Up Like Nuclear Bombs!

Alert! Alert! A new scientific study has found that big space rocks, with enough mass to create an explosion the size of a small nuclear bomb, strike our planet about once every month!

Danger! Why, just imagine looking up in the sky and seeing a nuclear explosion once per month… and then keep on imagining. Have you noticed that you have never seen any such blast ever in your life?

There’s a reason. Almost all the meteors of the size described in the article break up within the atmosphere without much drama. They would have to enter the atmosphere at just the right angle and speed to reach their full destructive potential.

As one of the alarmist articles hyping the recent study finally admits, “Most of the kiloton-sized explosions recorded this century resulted in very little debris striking the planet. Earth’s thick atmosphere tends to burn up most of the size of an asteroid, but that cannot be taken for granted.”

Actually, the billions of people who go about their ordinary business every day without worrying about meteors show that yes, our relative safety from menacing asteroids can be taken for granted.

The Can Kicks Back Shouts, How DARE You Cut the Budget?

The billionaire-funded political corporation called The Can Kicks Back says what it really cares aboutthat slashing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid while cutting taxes for corporations is just a way to do that.

This is the story The Can Kicks Back tells you about itself, all right. But how does its Policy Director, Brandon Atchison, react when the cuts go in the wrong place? He gets apoplectic, demanding that the federal government stop cutting the budget for the Department of Defense. Why? Because those cuts distract from efforts to slashing Social Security, slashing Medicare, slashing Medicaid and cutting corporate taxes.

The desire to reward corporations and end programs helping the less fortunate is essential at The Can Kicks Back. Any budget cuts that don’t accomplish this are “irresponsible.” If you ever had a doubt, now you know for sure where the group’s priorities lie.

Wiggle Javelin

“At my nativity the front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, of burning cressets; and at my birth the frame and huge foundation of the earth shaked like a coward.”

William Shakespeare was born 450 years ago today.

The Judeo-Christian Superior Moral Teaching of the Day

The Christian Watershed on the superiority of Judeo-Christian morality:

“The Judeo-Christian worldview stands as a superior counterpart to naturalism. Naturalism does not protect humanity, even those who are conscious and self-aware, because naturalism can always shift what it means to be a “human person.” If the majority decides that having white skin constitutes an element of being a human person, then logically the majority is justified and the minority has no recourse to challenge the majority view (other than overpowering or tricking the majority into changing their views). The Judeo-Christian worldview, alternatively, views all humans as being made in the image of God and therefore has an established explanation. When the Judeo-Christian worldview is followed to its logical end and practiced perfectly, it only results in all humans being treated with dignity and increasing the development of the human species.”

Leviticus 25:42-46 on the superiority of Judeo-Christian morality:

“Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

“Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”

How To Opt Out Of Corporate Surveillance Programs

Through the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the federal government’s electronic spying, through the NSA, FBI, CIA and other agencies has become astonishingly intrusive. Most of the legwork for this digital search and seizure isn’t actually done by the government itself. It’s corporate surveillance of Americans’ most private moments that makes the federal Big Brother as powerful as it is. The more extensive corporate data mining operations are, the more material gets sucked into the databases of the National Security Agency.

Big Data engineers like to put a friendly face on their surveillance programs, saying that people have to opt in. The Red Pepper advertising agency, for example, promotes its Facedeals program as something that consumers can choose to participate in, or not.

Facedeals is a program through which Facebook users can volunteer to have their Facebook photographs processed to inform facial recognition algorithms employed by surveillance cameras placed throughout the country. Red Pepper explains, “Facial recognition cameras are installed at local businesses. These cameras recognize your face when you pass by, then check you in at the location… The check-in app must be authorized via your Facebook account. With your help, the app verifies your most recent photo tags, using those to map the physical appearance of your face. Our custom-developed cameras then simply use this existing data to identify you in the real world. Personalized deals can now be delivered to your smartphone from all participating locations—all you have to do is show your face.”

It sounds pretty extreme to volunteer to be tracked by a network of cameras just in order to get a small discount. However, even more extreme are programs like Facedeals that operate without an opt-in requirement. There are other corporate surveillance programs in place that track people as they shop, using facial recognition or signals from mobile communications devices, without people’s permission.

Formally, you have the option to be excluded from participation in these electronic spying programs, but functionally, you have to know that they exist before you can possibly opt out. These programs operate invisibly, so as to avoid deterring people from shopping, or from altering their behavior.

Think about it: Do you know the names of any of the companies that are spying on you while you shop? What are their web sites? Who do you contact at these companies to tell them to stop stalking you?

smart store privacy opt out

We’re all being watched by commercial espionage companies who don’t even have the courtesy to introduce themselves to us, much less to let us know what they’re up to. Until legislators step forward to curb this abusive behavior, we don’t have any realistic hope of keep track of the trackers.

There is a web site that can help us fend off some of the activities of a few Big Data snoopers, however. A handful of companies that spy on shoppers without permission have responded to political pressure by agreeing to give people the opportunity to opt out of their surveillance programs at one single site: Smart Store Privacy.

You can go to Smart Store Privacy, and enter the identifying information from your mobile communications device, formally requesting that this device not be included in surveillance activities. There are limitations to the effectiveness of this site, however.

First of all, only 11 surveillance companies have agreed to abide by the restrictions listed on the Smart Store Privacy web site. There are other companies conducting in-store spying who will go on secretly tracking your movements, even after you sign up on the Smart Store Privacy web site.

Also, the Smart Store Privacy web site only restricts a small portion of in-store electronic surveillance against shoppers. The site still allows stores to track the activities of shoppers by cell phone signal and other methods. It only limits spying through shoppers’ Bluetooth and Wi-Fi MAC address communications. Even the companies that have signed the agreement will still be able to spy on shoppers who opt out at the Smart Store Privacy web site.

Finally, there’s the fact that people have to track down the Smart Store Privacy web site in the first place. It’s not been widely publicized, as the participating companies want as many shoppers to stay as open targets.

The Smart Store Privacy is a start, but only a start. It’s a little token of respect for privacy, providing a small territory of safety within a wide open field under the continual scrutiny of data hunters.

The extremely limited scope of the Smart Store Privacy agreement serves as a reminder that corporate surveillance is much less about providing useful services to consumers than it is about providing power to the corporations that can afford it.

You want to know how to opt out of corporate wireless surveillance programs? For the most part, you don’t really have the power to opt out… except through the democratic process. If you want to get your privacy back from the corporate spies who feed data to the NSA, contact your U.S. representative and U.S. senators, and tell them you want strong legislation to prohibit corporate spying programs that don’t require explicit and prominent opt-in permission for their surveillance activities.

Draft Version Of Apple Earth Day Press Release

image

Not for release: Plausibility Committee, please review.

Tomorrow is Earth Day, a day when corporations around the world pretend to care about panda bears, the climate, and yoga. This year, we at Apple are aiming higher. In the spirit of transparency, we are going to admit to you that, although we know that dealing with climate change is important, making big profits matters more. That’s why, for Earth Day 2014, we are announcing the decision to keep on shipping our products to you all the way from our outsourced factories in China, because paying workers as little as we can is part of the Apple corporate culture. We’re confident that you see things our way, because trees are nice, and fair pay sounds nice in the abstract, but showing off a product with the Apple logo at an affordable price makes you feel the thrill of being “creative”.

Carbon on!

Filing Note: Peterson Beneficiary Nick Troiano Officially Running for Congress

We’ve been following the fortunes of Nick Troiano since his entry into the political stable of investment wealth investors as a recruit to run the Unity Petition and College Outreach efforts of Unity08, a privatized effort to elect a President that claimed to be against big money in politics but that was actually financied almost exclusively by Wall Street private wealth investment financiers and denizens of the DC Beltway elite dinner circuit. Troiano went on to work for:

==> Americans Elect, a continuation of Unity08 that was also financed by Wall Street money and DC Beltway insiders;

==> the Youth Advisory Council for the Concord Coalition, a political front group for billionaire Pete Peterson and his Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare privatization politics;

==> the Can Kicks Back, another front group for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare cuts that was funded by billionaire Pete Peterson.

Earlier this year, I noted that Nick Troiano had formed an exploratory committee to raise funds for a congressional campaign in Pennsylvania District 10. Bill correctly chided me when I referred to Troiano as a “candidate”:

“Important to note that, as yet, Troiano isn’t “running for congress.” He goes out of the way to bill himself as “a potential candidate” and he has an “exploratory committee.” This is a legal nicety that enables him to raise unlimited money without revealing his donors’ identities to the FEC (hmm…where have I heard that before?). Once (or should I say “if”) he actually declares, only then do he and his donors come under FEC scrutiny.

Quite right, Bill. But now Nick Troiano has officially announced that he’s running for Congress. This means that as of July 15, 2014, we’ll be able to see who is contributing to his campaign. Are his supporters people who actually live in PA-10? Or are they the same Wall Street and DC denizens they’ve been to date? Wait three months and we’ll see.


Postscript: The other day, someone asked me why I was so “obsessed” with following political connections to and from the Unity08/Americans Elect group. Why bother, now that they’re “dead”? Isn’t this research “creepy”? Those are fair questions, so let me offer what I think are some fair answers.

1) In the 2008 cycle, people said Unity08 was dead, but it rebirthed itself under a new name for 2012: Americans Elect. When Americans Elect’s presidential aspirations tanked due to a lack of actual popular support, Americans Elect redirected itself to funnel millions in murky money toward a presidentialrace. Given the amount of money being tossed about the group’s donors, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for another resurrection.

2) Throughout its cycles, Unity08/Americans Elect has done its best to hide its donor base while it shifted its guises and professed aims. This means that sustained attention to the group’s activities and sources is important.

3) Unfortunately, nobody else appears to really paying attention to the group through its various cycles, so I’ve decided to follow the thread.

Is Nick Troiano still an arm of the Unity08/Americans Elect apparatus, or as sometimes happens in politics has he successfully detached himself to run as a true independent? Time and attention will tell.

Call it creepy obsession or call it accountability, I’ll keep it up. If there’s something you know, I hope you share it too.

How will Obama Justify Executing Americans Without Trial?

Good news comes this morning for Americans who believe that the President of the United States should not be held above the law.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Obama Administration must release secret memos that describe the legal justification for Barack Obama’s order to have an American citizen killed because of mere suspicion that the American was involved in a crime.

Barack Obama has asserted that not only does he have the power to kill, without trial, Americans whom he decides are likely to have been involved in criminal activity, but that he also has the power to withhold the legal reasoning  by which he claims this power.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States severely restricts the power of the government to inflict criminal punishment. It reads: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The American Barack Obama ordered to be killed was not suspected of any crime arising in the “land or naval forces, or in the Militia”. Given that, what legal justification can Barack Obama possibly give for this execution without trial?

Green Versus Green For Congress In New York

Back in November, I wrote a critical article about the Green Party, wondering why the party had failed to find congressional candidates to run in most of the districts across the United States. Since then, many congressional candidates have stepped forward. In some districts, more than one candidate has come forth.

Such is the case in New York’s 21st congressional district, where the incumbent Democrat Bill Owens is not running for re-election. The deadline for candidates to register campaigns for federal office with recognized parties there came at the end of last week.

Matt Funiciello is one Green candidate for the seat. He emphasizes his record as a peace activist, and promises a “platform devoid of corporate funding”. A specific campaign platform has yet to be communicated by Funiciello, however.

Don Hassig is also missing an explicit campaign platform, though it’s clear from his writings that he emphasizes environmental issues. Most recently, he spoke out against fracking in Massena.

Green voters need to hear a great deal more from these candidates before they can make an informed choice, but it is a sign of Green strength that a choice within the party is being made at all.

Dark Data And Cash

This morning, I decided to bake crescent rolls, out of a tube, for breakfast. It’s a simple, easy pleasure I indulge in every now and then, but I like to keep it to myself.

So, instead of getting in a car with satellite navigation that could transmit a record of my journey to corporate headquarters and the NSA, I rode my bike to the store.

bicycle gears

It was a small grocery store, not one of those big ones with cameras that track their customers with facial recognition software.

crescent rolls

I paid cash, and didn’t swipe a frequent shopper card.

image

When I got home, I baked the crescent rolls in an old analog oven with mechanical knobs, totally unconnected to the Internet of Things.

stovetop burner

How many rolls did I bake? When did I buy them, and when we’re they ready? Did I buy anything else to eat? Is there a predictable pattern to when I eat these rolls?

That’s for me to know, and the engines of Big Data to wonder. Through the power of physical, disconnected objects, I have exercised the power of dark data, the cultural equivalent of dark matter.