Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taking your picture against your will is a violation of natural law

Previously, in the post entitled "Crazy Horse against mind control," we saw that it is widely believed that Crazy Horse never allowed anyone to take his photograph.  

Certainly the historian Stephen E. Ambrose believed that no one was ever allowed to take Crazy Horse's picture.  Some believe that Crazy Horse did once pose for a portrait when he was young, but even if that is the case (and it is disputed point and one that is by no means proven), it is indisputable that Crazy Horse believed that his image belonged to him and that it was not allowed to be taken without his permission.  Whether he gave that permission once in his lifetime or whether he never gave that permission is not as important as his attitude towards his inherent natural right to consent or not consent to having his image taken by someone else.

It is no small point to ask whether, as I believe, Crazy Horse was right and no one has a right to take your image without your permission or whether, as some are trying to argue today, anyone stepping foot outside of his or her home concedes this right and may be photographed with impunity by anyone (including corporations and the state).

Recently, an article appeared in Wired magazine's UK version entitled "Get ready to have your biometrics tracked 24/7," in which a panelist participating in a discussion of biometrics, security, and privacy voiced the opinion that:
Biometric systems are becoming much more accurate and ubiquitous.  It is impossible not to be identifiable by some kind of signal you're leaving behind.  Accuracy is going up almost exponentially and we are dealing with concerns about privacy and how we map that.  But trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle.  The information is out of the bottle already -- we have to deal with the issues surrounding it now.  Embrace the challenge of what we've got, embrace understanding it and focus on what we can do with that new data.
By biometric systems, this panelist (who is an employee of IBM with a title of "Programme Leader at IBM's Emerging Technology Group) is referring to sensors deployed in public places which capture images of people's faces and gather other data from their bodies, and which use computer technology such as facial recognition, gait analysis, or a wide variety of other traits in order to identify individuals, know where they are at any given moment, know where they have been, and assemble data about their habits, preferences, and activities.

The panelist from IBM is also quoted as saying:
We're fighting the wrong battle when we ask should we stop people being observed.  That is not going to be feasible.  We need to understand how to use that data better.  I've been working in biometrics for 20 years, and it's reaching a tipping point where it's going to be impossible not to understand where people are and what they are doing.  Everything will be monitored.  It's part of the reason why when we put together the definition of biometrics it included biological and behavioral characteristics -- it can be anything. 
So, there are clearly individuals who believe that there is no inherent right over your image and your "biometric data" (including biological and behavioral characteristics), and that the individual must renounce any expectation of ownership over such data and simply accept that this data does not belong to the individual but to whatever entity wishes to "monitor" it.

Such a position can be described as diametrically opposed to that maintained by Crazy Horse.

Granted, these quotations come from one individual, voiced at some panel somewhere, and perhaps be dismissed as one man's opinion and nothing to become concerned about.  However, the individual voicing this opinion can probably be accurately described as a fairly senior individual at a major corporation; he apparently has been at IBM since 1997, and in his present role as "Programme Leader" at their Emerging Technology Group for fourteen years, and we can assume that his views probably reflect the views of that corporation rather accurately and that after that much time in that position this individual is by no means a "loose cannon."  Further, this view is apparently held by other individuals who are involved in "putting together the definition of biometrics" (note the use of the word "we" in the final sentence of the second quotation shown above).

So, which view is closer to the truth?  Does the individual have a right to determine who takes his image (and by extension, his other biometric data which can be apprehended by modern sensors)?  Or, as the representative from IBM says, should we concede that in modern civilization "everything will be monitored" and the individual needs to realize that "trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle"?

Readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that I believe this to be question of "natural law" (or "universal law").  The concept of natural law, as articulated by philosophers such as Lysander Spooner, states that "anybody and everybody" has an inherent right to be free from coercion or the threat of violence against his or her own person, ideas, and property.  This right is equal among all individuals, without distinction, by virtue of birth, and is not granted by anyone else, and it is not subject to anyone else's approval or disapproval.

Spooner applied this concept to the practice of slavery, which was "legal" in the United States during most of his lifetime, and which he opposed as a horrible violation of the natural law rights of the individuals who were enslaved under that illegal system.  He did not concede that "trying to stop slavery would be fighting the wrong battle," that slavery was like a genie that was already "out of the bottle" and that we simply need to "embrace the challenge of what we've got."  He stood up to argue that slavery was an outrage to natural universal law and that it should be abolished, and he did so strenuously and tirelessly in spite of the chorus of voices that argued that it was impractical or ridiculous to try to end an institution so widespread and one considered so economically essential to so many people and  corporations, and to the state itself.

If Spooner is right, then a natural law right is enjoyed by every human being simply by virtue of being born: it is not dependent upon race, nation, geography, economic circumstance, or time period.  If Crazy Horse was correct in asserting his right to determine who captured his image on film in the 1800s, and if such a right was his by virtue of natural universal law, then such a right still belongs to every human being alive today, regardless of the voices arguing that the march of technology has done away with that right ("not going to be feasible," says the representative from IBM).

But is the right to one's image and biometric data really a natural-law right?  Is it not hyperbole to draw a parallel between Spooner's arguments against slavery, in the face of the "respectable" voices of the 1800s who argued that slavery was a fait accompli, and those today who oppose the respectable voices of major corporations who argue that biometric surveillance is a similar fait accompli?

To answer that question, one need only change very slightly the assertion of the representative from IBM, and imagine that he were to put forward the argument that individuals must consent to being photographed, facially recognized, biometrically tracked, and otherwise surveilled within their own homes at any and all times.   What if he had instead declared:
We're fighting the wrong battle when we  ask should we stop people being observed in their own homes.  That is not going to be feasible.  I've been working in biometrics for 20 years, and it's reaching a tipping point where it's going to be impossible not to understand where people are and what they are doing in their own homes.  Everything will be monitored.  [. . .] trying to stop this would be fighting the wrong battle.  The information is out of the bottle -- we have to deal with the issues surrounding it now.  Embrace the challenge of what we've got, embrace understanding it and focus on what we can do with that new data we are collecting in your own home.
Would such a declaration go against natural universal law?  To ask the question is to answer it.  Such a declaration would be a hideous affront to natural law, and the individual's inherent right to be free of the threat of coercion or violence in his or her person, ideas, and property.  Lysander Spooner himself declared that natural law is so inherent and innate that it is generally obvious to every human being on the planet by the time they are seven or eight years of age.

If the assertion that others have the right to film you and collect other biometric data from you in your own home is an obvious violation of the natural universal law rights inherent to every individual, then can we possibly argue that such surveillance ceases to be a violation the moment an individual steps out his or her door?  Can anyone seriously maintain the position that the moment they step outside their own personal residence, they somehow grant to any other individual, corporation, or agent of the state the right to seize their photographic image, video imagery, and biometric data?

Because it is virtually impossible to conduct one's entire life without leaving one's personal residence (even if only to get food), maintaining that it is wrong to take someone's image (and other data) without their consent in their home but somehow OK to take it from them anywhere and everywhere else they happen to venture is clearly an illogical and erroneous position.

Furthermore, anyone who does maintain such a position, who says "you have a right to be free from the seizure of your image and data at home, but if you step outside your door you forfeit that right -- so if you don't want your image and data seized just STAY AT HOME ALL THE TIME" is basically consigning anyone who disagrees to having their image and data taken from them to a form of imprisonment: a virtual "house arrest" for life.

Some, of course, have argued that anyone who is not a criminal should not worry about giving up their data, being photographed, videoed, and essentially tracked wherever they happen to go.  "If you aren't doing anything wrong, then you don't have anything to fear" from such surveillance, the argument typically runs.

This argument is wrong on many levels.  On the most basic and fundamental level, those who make such an argument should be shown that pervasive surveillance is morally wrong: it violates natural law.  If seizing an individual's image and biometric data against his or her will is wrong, then that should be the end of the argument -- if someone else says "you don't have anything to fear" from such behavior, even if it is wrong, they are arguing a secondary point, a secondary point which is trumped by the primary and superior point that such behavior is morally wrong, whether anyone has anything to fear from it or not.

Crazy Horse apparently had religious or spiritual beliefs that caused him to not want his image to be taken or his "shadow stolen" by a camera.  Someone else declaring that he really "had nothing to fear" from having his image taken would be making an irrelevant point: he did not want his image taken, and so he did not have to concede to having it taken, whether or not someone else thought he had something to fear.

In order to make this point perfectly clear, we could use a different analogy.  We could imagine that instead of having one's image and biometric data seized by other individuals, corporations, or governments, we were instead discussing having one's body groped randomly by strangers whenever venturing out into public.  What if someone were to argue that the moment anyone stepped foot outside of his or her house, he or she should consent to being groped by several other individuals, as well as by agents of whatever corporations or businesses he or she visited on that trip, and also by various representatives of the federal, state, and local governments of the area?  What if they were to maintain that such groping was just a part of one's everyday trip to the store to get groceries, or the gas station to buy gas, or drive downtown to meet some friends for dinner?

Would that be a violation of the natural law which Spooner said gave every individual the right to be free from violence or the threat of coercion against his or her person, ideas and property?  Of course it would -- it would be an intolerable violation, and no one would willingly concede to such an absurd proposition.  No amount of speeches from subject-matter experts telling us to "embrace it" would possibly convince anyone that such behavior was not a violation of their person and a violation of natural law.  No amount of patronizing platitudes telling us that no permanent harm is done by such groping would convince us that it is in any way permissible.  They might say, "Don't be silly, you have nothing to fear," as some voices argue regarding the collection of biometric data, but if a behavior is wrong and a violation of natural universal moral law, then it is wrong -- all other arguments are secondary to that first question.

Additionally, as has been argued in previous posts such as this one, the very idea of constant surveillance is a giant step on the road to enslavement, and that such surveillance (by design) forces changes in the behavior of those being surveilled, and that it also leads to changes in speech and ultimately changes even in thinking.  Thus, such surveillance is a pernicious form of mind control, and those who employ it are lining up on the wrong side in the war against consciousness -- the very consciousness that ancient civilizations believed was the ultimate goal of human existence (see for example this previous post).

Because, as Spooner himself observed, natural law is so deeply ingrained in each of us, convincing people to act against natural law takes a lot of effort.  We inherently know that the opinions expressed by the IBM representative quoted above are false, and that they are in fact abhorrent.  We know that seizing people's imagery and biometric data routinely and without their consent is a form of violence, and a violation of their inherent dignity as individual human beings.  In order to overcome that resistance, and get people to come around to an opinion that such surveillance is "impossible" to stop, that it's just "not going to be feasible" to think our images and our data belong to us, and that we all need to "embrace the challenge, embrace understanding it" and let our bodies be remotely groped by the sensors of whatever corporation or government entity want to have their way with our data, those corporations and government entities are going to have to employ an awful lot of propaganda, hypnotism, and mind control.

In fact, this article in Wired, ensuring that the comments of the learned representative from IBM get the widest possible distribution, may well be seen as part of that long and difficult campaign -- the endless layers of soft imagery and suggestion that result in mass mind control.

Ultimately, this discussion uncovers a much larger question, and one which was front and center during the life of Crazy Horse as well, and that is the question of whether, in order to enjoy the benefits of modern civilization, one must necessarily give up one's inherent natural-law rights.

I believe that the answer to that question should theoretically be "no," but there are many voices who seem to argue that civilization cannot survive or move forward without trampling on the natural universal rights of individuals, both within its borders and without them (certainly this was true during the nineteenth century and the life of Crazy Horse, as the agents of the United States seized the lands of the Native Americans, killed those who opposed or resisted such seizure, and ultimately murdered Crazy Horse after he made peace and put down his weapons).

Those voices which argue that the violation of natural-law rights is an inevitable and even necessary aspect of civilization, and that we should all "embrace" that fact should be opposed at every point.  They are wrong -- as wrong as the voices who said during the same nineteenth century that slavery was a foregone conclusion, and that it was "just not feasible" to get rid of such a vital institution.  If enough people reject the hypnotizing voices trying to lull them into acceptance of such violations of their natural rights, then such institutions (like slavery) can be overturned, regardless of how impregnable they appear.    

It turns out that Crazy Horse's resistance to having his picture taken has incredible relevance for every single one of us in the modern world.

Below are a few relevant links for further examination of this subject:

  • "11 Body Parts Defense Researchers Will Use to Track You," Wired magazine, 01/25/2013.
  • "Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform," Wired magazine, 05/10/2013.
  • National Population Register: My Identity My Pride, official website of the government of India, explaining that it is mandatory for every citizen above the age of five must report to local "enrollment camps" to have their "biometric attributes" collected by the state, including a photograph (suitable for facial recognition software identification), ten fingerprints, and two iris images.  Note the use of blatantly propagandistic slogans such as "My Identity, My Pride" in the title of this biometric data-collection campaign -- evidence which supports the assertions made in the above blog post that people inherently know such mandates are a violation of national law and that to overcome their inherent resistance, mind control techniques are routinely employed.  The video advertisements supporting this biometric-data campaign in India are rather striking examples of the level of propaganda being employed: the ads feature evocative images of Indians reaching down into the very earth of their homeland and smearing it over their faces or the faces of others, as if to say that the biometric features of the individual belong to the land itself, and by extension the state.
  • Sistema Federal de Identidad Biometrica, the official video from the government of Argentina promoting their "SIBIOS" system of biometric identification for all citizens.  A similar level of propaganda to that seen in the advertisement from India is evident here as well.  
  • A clip from the 2002 film Minority Report (shown at the top of this post), which apparently was referenced by the same IBM Programme Leader at the Emerging Technology Group during his remarks in the March 2014 Nesta debate.  According to the Wired article, the IBM speaker said that the kind of personalized advertising triggered by biometric-recognition software shown in the film is now a reality, but, "The only thing they got wrong is you won't recognize you're being scanned -- the flashing red light in the film is for effect, but all that's now feasible."  Distopian movies such as Minority Report -- especially those of the high quality of Minority Report, which has entered the popular consciousness and has become synonymous with, among other things, pervasive technological surveillance -- can operate on many levels simultaneously, serving as a warning on one level, but also serving more broadly as a form of Hollywood mind control, to advance the very agenda of the inevitability of these kinds of technologies that we see being put forward by the IBM spokesperson highlighted in the recent Wired article.  Were there any other speakers who said anything remotely interesting in the Nesta debate on biometrics?  If there were, Wired didn't see fit to report on them whatsoever.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Know thyself

(please scroll down to read the post)

In an important dialogue by Plato known as the Phaedrus, the discussion examines the subject of self-knowledge, the meaning of the concept of "knowing oneself," and the role of love in that quest for self-knowledge.  

The command to "know thyself" was famously said to have been inscribed upon the temple at Delphi, and Plato has Socrates refer somewhat ironically to this famous dictum early in the Phaedrus.  As Socrates and Phaedrus are walking along the path of the stream of the Ilissus, Phaedrus asks Socrates whether  he was correct in deducing that it was "somewhere about here that they say Boreas seized Orithyia from the river" (referring to a famously beautiful daughter of a legendary king of Athens, who was seized by the god of the north wind, Boreas, and carried away to be his bride, becoming the mother of two of the heroes who sailed on the Argos in search of the Golden Fleece -- the incident is described by the later Roman poet Ovid in Metamorphoses Book VI, lines 979 through 1038).  

Socrates says he believes the abduction took place about a quarter of a mile lower down, and not where the two are currently walking.  Phaedrus then asks Socrates whether he believes the story to be true.

Plato has Socrates reply with a wonderful passage in which Socrates says he would be "quite in the fashion" if he disbelieved the tale, and if he came up with some kind of rationalistic explanation for the mythological story, such as if he were to soberly explain that the myth originated when the maiden was blown by a gust of wind over the edge of some steep rocks to her death (quotations from the Phaedrus used in this discussion come from the translation of Reginald Hackforth, 1887 - 1957).  

Socrates then goes on to say that such theories are "no doubt attractive" but are merely the "invention of clever, industrious people who are not exactly to be envied," (a masterful example of "damning with faint praise") -- in other words, that those pedantic scholars who spend their time trying to reduce mythological stories to literal episodes from some imagined history are completely misguided, and that those who indulge in manufacturing such theories deserve more to be pitied than to be taken seriously.

Plato then has Socrates declare of those who want to reduce every myth to some kind of historical, literal episode:
If our skeptic, with his somewhat crude science, means to reduce every one of them to the standard of probability, he'll need a deal of time for it.  I myself have certainly no time for the business, and I'll tell you why, my friend.  I can't as yet 'know myself,' as the inscription at Delphi enjoins, and so long as that ignorance remains it seems ridiculous to inquire into extraneous matters.  Consequently I don't bother about such things, but accept the current beliefs about them, and direct my inquiries, as I have just said, rather to myself, to discover whether I really am a more complex creature and more puffed up with pride than Typhon, or a simpler, gentler being whom heaven has blessed with a quiet, un-Typhonic nature.  By the way, isn't this the tree we were making for? 229e - 230b.
It is undoubtedly no accident that Plato has Socrates refer to the inscription from the temple at Delphi at this particular point in the dialogue, nor that Socrates illustrates his ongoing quest to obey that dictum with a reference to a mythological being (Typhon, and the question of whether or not he, Socrates, is "more puffed up with pride than Typhon").  

Through Socrates, Plato is here clearly slamming those who completely miss the point of the "ancient treasure" of mythology, and telling us in no uncertain terms that the purpose of the myths is not to preserve some historical, literal event from the past (albeit in slightly exaggerated form, with a girl falling to her death from some rocks transformed into a beautiful maiden being abducted by the god of the bitter north wind), but rather that the purpose of the myths has to do with the Delphic inscription "KNOW THYSELF."  To drive the point home, Plato has Socrates illustrate by telling Phaedrus that he himself applies the myth of Typhon to his own examination of himself, and the danger of becoming "puffed up with pride" (like Typhon).

This little passage from the Phaedrus, it seems, sheds some extremely helpful light on the famous dictum from Delphi.   It reveals that, far from being a mere collection of fanciful tales, or even a compendium of ancient historical events embellished with touches of the fabulous, the sacred myth-traditions of the world were actually an exquisite set of instruments designed to facilitate the quest for self-knowledge, and the removal of the ignorance which Socrates says should be the primary object towards which we devote our time and energy.

But how, exactly, do the sacred mythologies enable us to emerge from our state of ignorance into greater self-knowledge?

As the conversation in the Phaedrus moves on from the above passage, it plunges first into a discussion of the nature of love, and then proceeds from there into a discussion of the soul and its incarnation.  In 245c - 245e of the dialogue, Socrates determines from his foregoing examination of love that the soul is immortal, that it comes into a body and "besouls" the body, and that (at the beginning of section 246), that "it must follow that soul is not born and does not die."

This, in fact, is precisely what the ancient mythologies of the world teach us, using an exquisite system of metaphor, according to the penetrating analysis of Alvin Boyd Kuhn, in works such as his Lost Light (1940).  Through their beautiful allegories, the myths are teaching us just what Plato has Socrates expounding in the Phaedrus: that soul is immortal, that we descend into the body only to rise up again into the world of spirit, and descend into the body again, as many times as necessary to obtain the gnosis (and overcome the ignorance) that Socrates and the inscription at Delphi are talking about.  

In fact, we could tentatively explicate the myth of Orithyia being seized by the wind-god from the river as a metaphorical depiction of the aspect of the soul's journey when it leaves the world of the incarnation (the river, or the body -- the body being composed largely of water and minerals, the lower elements) and returns again to the realm of the spirit (the realms of air and fire, the higher elements or those more illustrative of the spiritual sphere).

The later philosopher (and priest of the oracle at Delphi) Plutarch, in his own dialogue examining the meaning of the inscriptions at Delphi (including the mysterious inscription of the letter "E" at Delphi, which is a subject for another discussion at another time), certainly seems to hint at the same interpretation.  In his famous essay On the 'E' at Delphi, Plutarch puts these words into the mouth of his own mentor, Ammonius (beginning in section XVII and carrying on into section XVIII and XIX):
All mortal nature is in a middle state between becoming and perishing, and presents but an appearance, a faint unstable image, of itself.  If you strain the intellect, and wish to grasp this, it is as with water; compress it too much and force it violently into one space as it tries to flow through, and you destroy the enveloping substance. [. . .]  "It is impossible to go into the same river twice," said Heraclitus; no more can you grasp mortal being twice, so as to hold it.  So sharp and so swift its change; it scatters and brings together again, nay not again, no nor afterwards; even while it is being formed it fails, it approaches, and it is gone.  Hence becoming never ends in being, for the process never leaves off, or is stayed. [. . .]  Yet we fear (how absurdly!) a single death, we who have died so many deaths, and yet are dying. For it is not only that, as Heraclitus would say, "death of fire is birth of air," and "death of air is birth of water"; the thing is much clearer in our own selves. [. . .] What then really is?  That which is eternal, was never brought into being, is never destroyed, to which no time ever brings change."
This concept is closely related to the discussion posted over a year ago concerning the myth of Narcissus, a discussion which helps to outline the importance of the concept of love in this whole discussion (the concept of love being the springboard in the Phaedrus which Plato uses to launch into his examination of this topic).  In a post examining some of the assertions of the neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus entitled "Plotinus and the upward way," we saw that
Plotinus seems to teach that love of beauty is an entry-gate to the upward way, but that the "lesson" for the lover of beauty is to learn to disentangle from being enamored with one specific embodied form (whatever form that lover of beauty is enamored with) and to see that specific form of beauty as a pointer to "beauty everywhere" (this being the very opposite of Narcissus, who could only see beauty in himself), and ultimately to the "One Principle underlying all."
Again, this conclusion has strong resonances with the theme of Plato's Phaedrus.

As we begin to wrap up this examination, we might pause on the myth-metaphor of Narcissus, another figure who (like Orithyia) is pictured next to an enchanting body of water.  As we saw in that previous examination of Narcissus, certain ancient philosophers appear to have interpreted his myth as symbolic of the descent of the soul into this incarnational world, and his fate as a warning against certain tendencies (perhaps even tendencies related to those which Socrates examined himself for, when he referenced the puffed-up self-pride of Typhon).  Socrates would surely laugh at us and imply that we were wasting our time if we were to try to go on a scholarly quest to uncover the "historical Narcissus" and to identify some particularly handsome or vain young prince from history who might have inspired the "legend of Narcissus."  Such stories are intended to provide us with a tool for self-reflection and ultimately self-knowledge, knowledge about the human condition and our purpose in this life (or this incarnation, if you believe the interpretation that the ancients and Alvin Boyd Kuhn espouse).

If the famous command from the oracle at Delphi to "Know thyself" was intended to tell us to learn that (in Plato's words) our physical existence is temporary and that in reality, "soul is not born and does not die," and that (in Plutarch's words) "we fear (how absurdly!) a single death, we who have died so many deaths," then it follows that those who -- either mistakenly, or malevolently -- try to reduce the myths to literal or historical interpretations are doing the world a great disservice.  They are placing a tremendous obstacle in the path of those who would learn the truth about the human condition, knowledge which is essential in the pursuit of that Delphic command.  

Unfortunately, such "clever, industrious people who are not exactly to be envied" are perhaps even more prevalent in our day than they seem to have been in the time of Plato, Socrates, and Phaedrus.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chemtrails and methane hydrates: a chilling theory proposed by Dane Wiginton

Previous posts on this blog have discussed the "chemtrail" or "geoengineering" phenomenon, which is often dismissed as a "conspiracy theory" (see for example the patronizing Wikipedia article on the subject).

The first direct mention of this topic on the pages of this blog was on July 03, 2013, in a post entitled "Due your own due diligence: Geoengineering."  That post noted that while many "debunkers" loudly deny that any deliberate spraying is taking place, "if deliberate geoengineering is taking place without informing the human beings who are potentially impacted by that activity, then there are potentially enormous ramifications.  Because the potential ramifications are so severe, everyone should take the time to investigate this issue for himself or herself."

Less than six months later, an article appeared in California newspapers describing deliberate "cloud seeding" operations involving the use of aircraft spraying chemicals such as silver iodide into the atmosphere in order to impact weather patterns and precipitation!  Here is a blog post from November of 2013 discussing that article, which openly admits to ongoing aircraft-based climate modification programs, quoting people involved in this aerial spraying program (one of whom has the official-sounding title of "director of weather modification").

In spite of the clear evidence that such spraying is in fact taking place, on such a scale that some individuals actually have job titles like "director of weather modification," Wikipedia and other sites continue to make fun of the "chemtrail conspiracy theory" and assert that "This theory has been refuted by the scientific community: such trails are simply normal contrails" (screen shot below from Wikipedia entry "Chemtrail conspiracy theory," accessed 03/19/2014):

The fact that these spraying programs are going on is undeniable: the real questions are "Why?" and "What impact will these programs have?"  The illegality of such programs should not really be in question, as discussed in the previous post entitled "Who has the right to spray silver iodide on his or her neighbors?" -- a question which natural law answers with a resounding: "No one."

Recently, Dane Wiginton of appeared on Red Ice Radio to outline a frightening thesis which he believes explains the deliberate, worldwide spraying campaigns, and it is a bombshell.

Every individual who cares about investigating this topic should listen to it in its entirety, and visit Geoengineeringwatch to learn more about it, but Dane's thesis in short is that the perpetrators of these massive spraying campaigns have seen data suggesting that warming temperatures worldwide, and particularly warming ocean temperatures, are releasing methane hydrates which are trapped in ice beneath the surface of the world's oceans, and that these methane hydrates entering our atmosphere will contribute to a cycle of further warming, releasing even more methane hydrates in a runaway cycle that could threaten all life on earth.  The massive, unauthorized, unannounced, secretive, and illegal spraying campaign (according to Dane's theory) is the desperate attempt by state actors to slow the cycle before it is too late.  (Another place to hear the interview is on this page from Geoengineeringwatch itself).

Geoengineeringwatch has several articles discussing the methane hydrate threat, many of which can be found on this page (which is a page of search results for the term "methane" on that website).  This article in particular, entitled "Methane and the risk of runaway global warming," gives a good outline of the potential danger Dane describes in his interview and in other talks and presentations which can be found on the Geoengineeringwatch site.

Methane hydrates are very real, and they are actually a phenomenon which Dr. Walt Brown discusses in some detail in his books about the hydroplate theory.  As the Geoengineeringwatch articles explain, our planet contains massive reserves of methane hydrates, most of them trapped in subsurface ice along the continental shelves of most of earth's continents, as well as beneath the Arctic ice cap.  Dr. Brown's book explains that origin of these vast quantities of methane hydrates poses something of a problem for conventional geological theories, but (as with so many other pieces of evidence on our planet, some of which are listed at the end of this post*) the hydroplate theory has a very satsifactory explanation for these methane collections.

At the bottom of this page in the online version of his book on the hydroplate theory, Dr. Brown describes the earth's methane hydrate reserves:
Since 1970, methane has been discovered inside ice molecules mixed within sediments lying up to 1000 feet below the deep ocean floor off coastlines.  The ice molecules form microscopic cagelike structures encasing one or more methane molecules.  The total energy value of this methane-ice combination, called methane hydrate, is at least twice that of all the world's known coal and oil combined! 
Later, in the section of this page entitled "Recovery Phase," Dr. Brown describes the forces which he believes led to the creation of all these methane hydrates -- the massive sediments which were released during a catastrophic worldwide flood poured off the continents at the end of the catastrophic flood event and into the massive depressions of the ocean basins, which had been created as a consequence of the sequence of events he describes in the previous phase of the catastrophe:
Sediments, mixed with organic matter and its bacteria were swept with draining flood waters onto the new ocean floors.  There, the bacteria fed on the organic matter and produced methane.  Much of this methane combined with cold, deep ocean waters to become vast amounts of methane hydrates along coastlines.
Elsewhere (in caption below the image of flaming ice, which is burning because it contains methane, and which is shown at the bottom of the page with the first methane hydrate quotation above), Dr. Brown explains that "water will freeze at slightly warmer temperatures if it is under high pressure and contains dissolved methane," and that "such temperatures and pressures exist 2,000 feet or more below sea level.  There, vast methane deposits are found trapped in ice on and under the deep seafloor, primarily along coastlines."  These principles of chemistry and physics explain the mechanisms which caused the methane hydrates to form, and Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory and the evidence that the earth once experienced a catastrophic global event which flooded the earth and which caused massive amounts of sediments infused with the remains of pre-flood vegetation explains the original source of the methane.

Whatever the source of the methane, however, Dane Wiginton's theory that the massive chemtrail campaign is a desperate attempt to prevent this methane from escaping due to warmer ocean temperatures has some logical coherence, and deserves to be examined further to see if it fits the available evidence better than alternative explanations for the undeniable geoengineering efforts that have been taking place for many decades, but which appear to have accelerated in recent years.

If readers choose to reject his explanation, then the question remains: what reason do we propose in its place?  The reason for the spraying can be debated, but the fact of the spraying should be beyond debate at this point.  If the situation really is as dire as Dane Wiginton and the articles on suggest, then investigating this issue is extremely important for every man and woman on the planet.

For those who argue that the recent freakish waves of cold weather, snow and ice experienced by the eastern US should dispel any arguments that the earth or its oceans are heating up, Dane presents evidence in his talk and on his site that these "polar vortices" and other unusual winter weather events are being deliberately and artificially engineered to hit the eastern portion of North America, while simultaneously creating warmer and drier conditions along the western portion of the continent and up into Canada, Alaska and the Arctic itself.  He argues that California's current historic drought conditions are probably part of this phenomenon.  He also believes that if the chemtrails are in fact being sprayed in order to try to stop a runaway methane-hydrate release, they are actually doing more harm than good and will have the effect of destroying the earth's natural systems and preventing the planet from healing itself, while threatening to create all kinds of new and unforeseen problems at the same time.

Like so many other issues of great importance facing men and women on the planet today, there appears to be an active disinformation campaign surrounding the existence and purpose of geoengineering, and individuals will have to do their own research and analysis and arrive at their own conclusions, without "outsourcing" that analysis to traditional media outlets (or to websites such as Wikipedia).  The correct way to proceed is to examine the evidence, examine the competing theories which attempt to explain that evidence, and conduct analysis to determine which theory best explains the preponderance of the evidence available at this time.  This process is recommended by Dr. Brown himself (who invites readers of his theory to conduct that type of analysis on all the assertions that he makes using the hydroplate theory), and it applies to the subject of chemtrails no less than it does to the subject of the earth's geological features and formations.

Below are some photographs of palm trees under severe duress due to the ongoing drought conditions in California, with chemtrails visible in the background.  Below those photographs is a "footnote" containing links to previous posts discussing evidence worldwide which supports the hydroplate theory.

* Some of the evidence supporting the hydroplate conclusions, discussed in previous posts:

And many, many more.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The incredible fossils of the Daohugou Biota

On March 04, 2014, a fascinating paper appeared in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, entitled "The Vertebrates of the Late Jurassic Daohugou Biota of northeastern China," by Corwin Sullivan, Yuan Wang, David W. E. Hone, Yuanqing Wang, Xing Xu, and Fucheng Zhang.

The paper discusses the amazing fossils from a region in Inner Monglolia, known as Daohugou, in which the fine-grained sand beds allowed for the preservation of fossilized soft-tissue features, including feather-like quills, the outlines of soft body-parts, and even the external gills of salamanders such as the Chunerpeton tianyiensis, shown above.

The paper discusses the distinctive features of the Daohugou beds and the fossilized fauna preserved there which both link them to other famous fossil beds in the northeastern region of China (including the Yixian, Dabeigou, and Jiufotang Formations), and distinguish Daohugou as having some unique aspects.  The region has produced exquisitely-preserved fossils which the paper describes as including "plants, anostracans, conchostracans, arachnids, and insects, as well as vertebrates." 

The paper discusses various dating estimates for the beds, generally in the neighborhood of 152 million years ago to 166 million years ago, based on radiometric dating techniques (although the paper notes some difficulties with those methods for this region) and on conventional models of the way the various geological layers were deposited (this blog has discussed numerous reasons why both of these methodologies may be completely incorrect, if in fact there was ever a cataclysmic world-wide flood event as described by Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory: see this post and this post for some discussion of the problems with conventional radioactivity assumptions, and this post and this post for some discussion of the problems with conventional stratigraphy assumptions, among many others). 

The presence of such delicately-preserved fossils, over such a wide geographic range, and in such depth (encompassing numerous different layers, with the Daohugou sometimes described as being part of the lower layers of the Yixian Formation), causes tremendous difficulties for conventional theories of fossilization and geographic stratification.  Many of these problems were discussed in a previous post which examined the widespread findings of delicately-preserved jellyfish fossils in areas of the United States, entitled "Jellyfish fossils and the hydroplate theory."  

One of the most obvious problems is the fact that delicate tissue, such as jellyfish bells and jellyfish tentacles, or the external gills on the fossil salamander shown above (and discussed in this section of the paper by Sullivan et al.), or the incredible gossamer insect-wings found in many fossils in the Yixian formation (see image here and at the bottom of this post) does not normally hang around long enough to be fossilized by the mechanisms envisioned under conventional, non-catastrophic theories of fossil formation.  A dead insect lying on the forest floor, or the desert floor, will usually be eaten before it becomes a fossil.  If it is not eaten by something larger, it will under normal conditions decompose and be devoured by microbes long before it becomes a fossil.  Even simple things such as wind and rain will probably rip its wings off and destroy them long before they can be fossilized.  The same goes for jellyfish washed up on a beach, or soft tissues such as the salamander gills shown above.

Even if extremely unusual conditions somehow preserved one insect with gossamer wings, or one salamander with external gills, or one jellyfish by some miraculous set of "just-right" circumstances, how can we possibly explain the abundance of jellyfish described in the earlier-linked post on jellyfish fossils, or the superabundance of insect-wings, salamanders with soft-tissue fossils, plants, and other incredibly well-preserved specimens from the now-famous regions of northeastern China?  How do we explain not only the incredible number and variety of well-preserved specimens, but also the vast region in which they are found?  Did "perfect conditions" just happen to occur -- not just along one isolated stream somewhere, but over a vast swath of Inner Mongolia?  

And the conventional problem goes even deeper than that, because these exquisitely-preserved fossils in the Yinxian and Jiufotang and other formations are found not just along one layer of supposed geographic age, but among many layers -- implying that these "just right" conditions miraculously kept cropping up over and over throughout the course of tens of millions of years (but all in this one region of modern China)!  This kind of explanation beggars belief.  By the way, the jellyfish fossils of the regions of the modern-day US also appear in several different layers, thought by conventional scientists to represent many different ages of ancient history.

As usual, the king-sized problems that the conventional theory cannot adequately explain are handled extremely satisfactorily by Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory.  On this page of Dr. Brown's book (which he graciously makes available to read in its entirety for free online, but which can also be purchased in hardcopy here), Dr. Brown compares the conventional explanation for the formation of the fossil evidence we find around the world with the hydroplate explanation, and allows readers to decide for themselves which explanation better fits the evidence we find.  Dr. Brown's explanation involves the widespread liquefaction which would have taken place during a catastrophic flood event, and which would explain the thinly-pressed and delicately preserved fossils of the northeastern China region as well as the jellyfish fossils of North America.  For a complete discussion of liquefaction, the interested reader is encouraged to read the entire chapter on liquefaction in Dr. Brown's book.

Many of the items from Dr. Brown's list (written long before this latest article appeared describing the fossilized specimens of the northeastern China region) fit very well with the description of the Daohugou and other localities in the recent article.  Some of those include the presence of very fine basaltic sediments to great depths, the breadth of the region, and the sorting of fossils into various "biota" which distinguish one group from another (and which form the primary subject of this latest paper in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology).

The possibility that there has been a catastrophic event in this planet's past which is responsible for the fossils we find should not be so difficult to accept -- in fact, as this blog has discussed many times and as Dr. Brown's book discusses in far greater depth, the evidence overwhelmingly leads to that conclusion.  However, such a possibility is so distasteful to the defenders of the conventional academic paradigms that it is almost never even considered, let alone accepted.  This unfortunate bias leads to the acceptance of explanations which should be infinitely more difficult for someone to believe, explanations which posit the perfect conditions that could preserve salamander gills, jellyfish bells, or insect wings not just one time but many times, over wide regions stretching for miles in all directions, and in multiple layers which were formed many millions of years apart!

Perhaps someday some of those scientists who currently talk themselves into believing such fantasies will stop and take a look at the much more scientific explanations offered in the hydroplate theory.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Crazy Horse against mind control

Speaking of books that influenced me when I was growing up, one of the books I read several times and which made a big impression on me when I was in high school was Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors, by Stephen Ambrose (1975).  It tells the backstory of the people and events leading up to the utter defeat of the US 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June of 1876, by a group of warriors from the Cheyenne and the Sioux, whom Ambrose describe as "the only Indian nation to defeat the United States in war and force it to sign a peace treaty favorable to the red man"(8).

When I was just a young lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne, we had a new battalion commander who asked each of the lieutenants in the battalion to write an essay describing American military leaders whom we respected most.  I wrote about Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull; for some reason this did not seem to go over very well.

In spite of the tactical genius of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, and their success in inflicting total defeat on the military forces sent by those who were quite open about their desire to invade, to steal, to incarcerate on reservations, and to put an end as quickly as possible to the way of life of the people they found living on the Plains before the white man arrived, military victories alone would not be enough to stop the invasion and the destruction of their way of life.

This is not to say that Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and those who fought with them were mistaken to try to oppose with force of arms those who had demonstrated a willingness to massacre entire villages of Native Americans, as the US troops had demonstrated time and again.  They had every right and even the duty to do so under what philosopher Lysander Spooner termed natural law, which could also be called universal law: the teaching that individuals have the inherent right to be free against violence done to themselves, to use force if necessary to stop violence being done to themselves or to others in their immediate vicinity, and to live in freedom which is only bounded by the prohibition against doing violence to others.  By coming together against armed men (the forces commanded by Custer) who were riding into their home country with intent to subjugate them against all dictates of natural law, the Sioux and Cheyenne who took up arms against Custer's forces were entirely justified.

That previous post on Spooner's writings argued that there is an inherent link between violations of natural law and what we can call "mind control," saying:
Getting people to agree to human laws which go against natural law must necessarily involve mind control, because people have a powerful, innate, intuitive sense of natural law.  Overcoming this powerful human sense requires forms of coercion, deception, ritual, and the repetition of propaganda. 
In other words, even in the 1800s the populace that was committing mass murder and mass theft against the people whose lands they were stealing and way of life they were destroying gave themselves various forms of deception and propaganda in order to throw a veil of legitimacy against their illegitimate actions.  The mechanisms by which the people of that time deluded themselves into overlooking their gross violation of natural law included institutionalized racism (telling themselves that the American Indians were not possessed of the same inherent natural rights that all men and women possess by virtue of being human beings), the religiously-tinged concept of "Manifest Destiny," the costumes and pageantry surrounding the military and the institutions of the federal government, convoluted arguments about the necessity of taking the lands and especially the mineral resources that had been found in the Black Hills region, the opaque and verbose legalese with which various treaties and official pronouncements were written and the imposing documents and parchments on which these treaties and pronouncements were written, and a host of other artificial aids designed to dress up as legitimate a sustained campaign of genocide.

These mechanisms can be extremely effective: indeed, even today, most people living in the US looking back on the depredations of the United States against the Sioux and other tribes do not like to admit outright that those actions were blatantly illegitimate, and will attempt to at least partially justify those crimes to themselves or to others, when they are forced to think about them at all.  Most people would rather cloak these past atrocities at least in part with that illusory veil of legitimacy rather than admit that the seizure of the lands from the Native Americans was entirely illegitimate in every case.

And here is where the clear and unaffected understanding of natural law which Crazy Horse demonstrated in his words and deeds during his lifetime can be even more powerful than the military victory which he and Sitting Bull achieved at the Little Bighorn so many years ago.  For Crazy Horse had an exemplary awareness of natural law, both in his dignified retention of his own rights as a free individual, and in his gracious recognition of the rights of those around him.

A quotation from Crazy Horse, recounted by his friend He Dog in an interview sometime long after the murder of Crazy Horse himself, has already been cited in this regard (see this previous post).  Referring to a time when He Dog was urging everyone to move across a certain creek if they wanted to avoid being killed by the army, and seeing that everyone had moved their camp across the creek except for Crazy Horse, He Dog went to his friend and talked to him:
I said, "Does this mean that you will be my enemy if I move across the creek?"  Crazy Horse laughed in my face.  He said, "I am no white man!  They are the only people who make rules for other people, that say, 'If you stay on one side of this line it is peace, but if you go on the other side I will kill you all.'  I don't hold with deadlines.  There is plenty of room; camp where you please."
This interview with He Dog remembered this conversation with his friend Crazy Horse took place in 1930, and a transcript of the entire interview can be read here.  Other interviews with He Dog can be found here.

Note that in the above exchange, Crazy Horse bluntly expresses his commitment to what we are calling (after Spooner) natural law (perhaps universal law might be an even better term), as well as his disgust for those who create artificial constructs (arbitrary lines, the crossing of which justify killing --  what Crazy Horse dismissively terms "deadlines") which they use as excuses for violating that same natural law.

It is this penetrating ability to see right through the fictional illusions and veils described above, and to rip them aside, which Crazy Horse demonstrates in this quotation, which is the real hope against the depredations of those habitual violators of natural law whose institutions have only grown stronger in the intervening years.  This ability to cut through the artificial "veil of legitimacy" is a far more powerful weapon than even the armed resistance Crazy Horse demonstrated at Little Bighorn, and which was ultimately not successful.

Crazy Horse is also well known for his refusal to allow his photograph to be taken.  Here again he demonstrates a powerful and important lesson which can be related back to the concept of natural law or universal law, and one that has never been more appropriate than it is today.  While this refusal to allow someone else to take his photograph is often dismissed as a primitive fear of having his "shadow stolen,"and dismissed as a relic of a long-bygone era with nothing to do with the "modern world," the reason he did not wish to have his picture taken is not the important point: the important point is that he saw his image (or his "shadow," if you will) as inherently belonging to himself, and not to be taken without his express consent.

While there are disputed images purporting to be of a young Crazy Horse allowing his photograph to be taken, Ambrose at least flatly states that Crazy Horse never let anyone take his photograph.  Either way, the real point is that Crazy Horse -- with his deeply ingrained understanding of natural law -- believed that his image belonged to him, and if someone wanted to take it they had to have permission to do so.  Contrast this natural understanding to the situation in the United States today, in which government entities routinely collect visual photographic surveillance images of men and women and children going about their daily business, such as riding on the bus or driving down the street -- and maintain that because there is "no expectation of privacy" on a public bus or roadway that these images can be taken with impunity, as well as subjected to facial recognition technology and storage for indefinite periods for retrieval at a later time.

Because most people have lost the fine sense of natural law which Crazy Horse demonstrated in his life, they accede to this constant "stealing of their shadow" on a daily basis, without even giving it any thought.  In fact, it would probably be more accurate to say that, rather than having lost the dignified sense of natural rights which Crazy Horse possessed, most people today never have a chance to even develop it (such ideas are drilled out of them in compulsory schooling which begins before the age of seven, during which they are indoctrinated with the various mechanisms used to cast a veil of legitimacy over violations of natural law).

Because of this, his example is more important today than ever.  Developing, or regaining, the integrity he demonstrated is the best hope for the removal of the false veil of legitimacy by which violators try to cloak their illegitimate actions.

Ultimately, the violations of universal or natural law which governments perpetrate with impunity are supported more through mind control -- the illusions and veils described above -- than with military might.  Because of this, the example of Crazy Horse in his dignified rejection of those illusions is an even more powerful legacy against tyranny than is his resistance against it on the battlefield of the Little Bighorn.