Monday, December 31, 2007
Washington Post Staff Writer
Despite more than 20,000 lawsuits filed against music fans in the years since they started finding free tunes online rather than buying CDs from record companies, the recording industry has utterly failed to halt the decline of the record album or the rise of digital music sharing.
Still, hardly a month goes by without a news release from the industry's lobby, the Recording Industry Association of America, touting a new wave of letters to college students and others demanding a settlement payment and threatening a legal battle.
Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.
The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings.
"I couldn't believe it when I read that," says Ray Beckerman, a New York lawyer who represents six clients who have been sued by the RIAA. "The basic principle in the law is that you have to distribute actual physical copies to be guilty of violating copyright. But recently, the industry has been going around saying that even a personal copy on your computer is a violation."
RIAA's hard-line position seems clear. Its Web site says: "If you make unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings, you're stealing. You're breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages."
They're not kidding. In October, after a trial in Minnesota -- the first time the industry has made its case before a federal jury -- Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay $220,000 to the big record companies. That's $9,250 for each of 24 songs she was accused of sharing online.
Whether customers may copy their CDs onto their computers -- an act at the very heart of the digital revolution -- has a murky legal foundation, the RIAA argues. The industry's own Web site says that making a personal copy of a CD that you bought legitimately may not be a legal right, but it "won't usually raise concerns," as long as you don't give away the music or lend it to anyone.
Of course, that's exactly what millions of people do every day. In a Los Angeles Times poll, 69 percent of teenagers surveyed said they thought it was legal to copy a CD they own and give it to a friend. The RIAA cites a study that found that more than half of current college students download music and movies illegally.
The Howell case was not the first time the industry has argued that making a personal copy from a legally purchased CD is illegal. At the Thomas trial in Minnesota, Sony BMG's chief of litigation, Jennifer Pariser, testified that "when an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Copying a song you bought is "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy,' " she said.
But lawyers for consumers point to a series of court rulings over the last few decades that found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to time-shift TV programs; that is, to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording.
As technologies evolve, old media companies tend not to be the source of the innovation that allows them to survive. Even so, new technologies don't usually kill off old media: That's the good news for the recording industry, as for the TV, movie, newspaper and magazine businesses. But for those old media to survive, they must adapt, finding new business models and new, compelling content to offer.
The RIAA's legal crusade against its customers is a classic example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed. Four years of a failed strategy has only "created a whole market of people who specifically look to buy independent goods so as not to deal with the big record companies," Beckerman says. "Every problem they're trying to solve is worse now than when they started."
The industry "will continue to bring lawsuits" against those who "ignore years of warnings," RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said in a statement. "It's not our first choice, but it's a necessary part of the equation. There are consequences for breaking the law." And, perhaps, for firing up your computer.
LONDON: Individual privacy is under threat in the United States and across the European Union as governments introduce sweeping surveillance and information-gathering measures in the name of security and controlling borders, an international rights group has said in a report.
Greece, Romania and Canada had the best privacy records of 47 countries surveyed by Privacy International, which is based in London. Malaysia, Russia and China were ranked worst.
Both Britain and the United States fell into the lowest-performing group of "endemic surveillance societies."
"The general trend is that privacy is being extinguished in country after country," said Simon Davies, director of Privacy International. "Even those countries where we expected ongoing strong privacy protection, like Germany and Canada, are sinking into the mire."
In the United States, the administration of President George W. Bush has come under fire from civil liberties groups for its domestic wiretapping program, which allows monitoring, without a warrant, of international phone calls and e-mail messages involving people suspected of having terrorist links.
"The last five years has seen a litany of surveillance initiatives," Davies said.
He said little had changed since the Democrats took control of Congress a year ago.
"We would expect the cancellation of some programs, the review of others, but this hasn't occurred," Davies said.
Britain was criticized for its plans for national identity cards, a lack of government accountability and the world's largest network of surveillance cameras.
Davies said the loss earlier this year of computer disks containing personal information and bank details on 25 million people in Britain highlighted the risks of centralizing information on huge government databases.
The report, released Saturday, said privacy protection was worsening across Western Europe, although it was improving in the former Communist states of Eastern Europe.
It said concern about terrorism, immigration and border security was driving the spread of identity and fingerprinting systems, often without regard to individual privacy.
The report said the trends had been fueled by the emergence "of a profitable surveillance industry dominated by global IT companies and the creation of numerous international treaties that frequently operate outside judicial or democratic processes."
The survey considers a range of factors, including legal protection of privacy, enforcement, data sharing, the use of biometrics and the prevalence of closed circuit TV cameras.
"People shouldn't feel despondent about the results," Davies said. "Our view is that privacy-friendly systems will emerge in coming years and that consumers will soon begin to see privacy as a political issue."
Friday, December 28, 2007
In the Koran it talks about KILLING and MURDERING ANYONE who does not want to believe with a special emphasis on Christians.
I was raised a Christian, and to this day, I am not a Christian anymore. Even though I was raised in the religion, once I was able to make my own mind up, I got away from it, b/c I cannot support a religion with so many contradictions in it's own book plus what those who claim to be Christians have done in Gods name. ie: Crusades.....
If you ask me, we should ban worldwide any irrational religion that promotes violence, hate, or that divides us on the planet. Which would be every religion on the planet.
My problem is religions see "their" followers as the chosen people. The saved ones. It creates false boundaries in our mind that separates us from each other. This side believes it's the chosen ones.....the others are just heathens!
It only creates this madness we now experience. People want so badly to believe that all this pain and suffering is for something bigger. Some of us are willing to kill what God supposedly created so that we can get an express lane to heaven. None of us can except that we are mortal and that lives are nothing more than experiences through time.
Just my opinion.................
My God is the World & Universe and she is sad at how you treat each other.......
Monday, December 24, 2007
Below is great Myths of Xmas!
Winter Solstice, or Yule, is held on or around December 22nd. It marks the shortest day of the year (in the Northern Hemisphere) and is an important holiday to those who follow the old ways.
To the ancients, it appeared as if the Sun and Moon stopped in their flight across the sky—this is the longest night of the year and was a time of both anticipation and rejoicing at the Sun's rebirth out of the Goddess.
The Sun's representation as the male divinity, or celestial ruler, predates Christianity. As with other rituals and celebrations, the Church felt that by assimilating this holiday into the Christian beliefs, it would help convert those who still followed the Olde Way.
Definition of Solstice - Solstice derives from an ancient Latin word meaning "stop," or "to stand still." According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, it refers to one of two points when the sun is furthest from the celestial equator.
Relationship to Christmas
The selection of December 25th as a Christian holiday was first recorded in scholarly texts dating to 325 A.D., although the actual practice was first decreed in 274 A.D. by the Emperor Aurelian. Since the non-Christians viewed this time as the rebirth of the sun, it made sense for the Church to also mark this period as the celebration of the nativity of Christ. Curiously, the selection of the day appears arbitrary although mankind had long known how to calculate the solstices. One can only guess that, rather than shift the celebration each year, a regularly scheduled event was preferable—the old Roman desire for order never quite left the new faith.
The Winter Solstice marks a crucial part of the natural cycle. In a real sense, the sun begins anew its journey toward longer days, times of new growth and renewal of the world once again. In a spiritual sense, it is a reminder that in order for a new path to begin, the old one must end and that spring will come again.
Some Myths on Xmas:
The Bible does not supply concrete information on exactly when Christ was born. No astrological indicators exist that point to December 25. The earliest record comes from a 354 A.D. calendar description of a holiday in which Romans lit candles to celebrate the sun's birthday.
The Bible tells of three wise men who travelled from afar on camels to visit the infant Jesus as he lay in the manger.(Mathew 2:1 tells us: "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem . . . ". That is the extent of it. There is no mention of THREE wisemen and no mention of camel! Also, Matt 2:11 states "And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him . . . ". Note that it mentions a child in a house, rather than a baby in a manger... so this is a postbirth event.)
The "Immaculate Conception" refers to the birth of Jesus. (The Immaculate Conception has nothing to do with either the birth of Jesus or any virgin birth. It is a specific dogma of Roman Catholicism which decrees that the Virgin Mary was preserved free from original sin by divine grace from the moment of her conception. Although this dogma had been argued since the 12th century, it was not made official Pope Pius X did so in 1854. Since then December 8 has been observed as a Roman Catholic feast in commemoration of the Immaculate Conception.)
Church officials, "impressed with the ritual's symbolic bringing back of light into the world," claimed the date of December 25. Roman Emperor Constantine officially recognized it as the celebration of Jesus' birth in the 4th century A.D.
The Middle Ages marked the origin of many traditional Christmas symbols such as the Yule log, holly, and caroling. The burning Yule log (Yule comes from the Scandinavian jol or jul which means "jolly") symbolized the time in which bonfires raged to "beckon the reappearance of winter's holy light."
The Farmer's Almanac also got its start in the Middle Ages during the 12 days of Christmas. People used these days to predict weather by recording sunny and snowy days in a system that became the precursor of the modern day Farmer's Almanac.
In the early 19th century, German and Dutch Protestant immigrants resurrected the Christmas holiday to its original status. St. Nicholas also gained prominence during the Victorian era.
Originally Santa Claus was not regarded as the rotund gift bearer in an airborne sled that we all know today. It was Clement Clark Moore's 1822 poem that first promoted this image.
Santa's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer sprang from a commercial endeavor in 1939. A Montgomery Ward employee wrote the original story as part of a promotional "giveaway" program. The song gained prominence in the late 1940s.
'Xmas' is a modern, disrespectful abbreviation of the word 'Christmas'. (X is a substitute for the Greek, Chi, which was an early church representation of Christ. It has been around for a long time and had no meaning of disrespect.)
Friday, December 07, 2007
It seems that if you want people to have kids, maybe you should be responsible for those kids. And not just while they are kids, but all the way to adulthood. Instead they force mothers to have children, making it criminal if you choose not to have the child in some places but they cut programs for young mothers, they stop welfare, they cut funding to public schools and healthcare costs thousands of dollars if not more. Seems to me if you want to protect life, you should do it from the moment it is born to the moment it dies....but we don't do that, now do we?
I also find it disturbing that once these children who were saved by the Pro Life movement hit the young teen to adult years, we seem to forget all about them. We shove them in homes, mental institutions, jails & prisons, thinking locking them up like wild animals will change them. When in reality we only make them more bitter than they were. Once they are 18, most parents tell the kids they brought in the world to get out and survive on their own. The best part is they never prepare the child for the "real world".
We need to become more clear in the areas we ignore...we need more grey though in those areas we are too absolute. It could change our lives, our country. It could stop things like this from happening.....
When will we learn that it is meant to be quality, not quantity. So what we have 7 billion people on this planet....80 percent of us is suffering....
Profile of a killer: Robert Hawkins
Robert Hawkins was a depressed teenager who believed he had endured a terrible fortnight when he snapped, took a rifle, and killed eight Christmas shoppers before shooting himself.
Two weeks ago his long-term girlfriend dumped him. Last week he was sacked by McDonalds over a missing $17. He was also awaiting a court case due later this month for underage possession of alcohol.
The 19-year-old lived with a family in the middle-class town of Bellevue, Nebraska. The small town, which is sandwiched between the city of Omaha and a US military base, proudly boasts of its tight-knit community.
Hawkins moved into the suburban home of Debora Maruca-Kovac after becoming friends with her two sons, aged 17 and 19.
Mrs Maruca-Kovac said her family had taken him in after he had fallen out with his stepmother. Court records show that at least once he was termed a ward of the state meaning he had been legally removed him from his parents’ custody - possibly to be held in a juvenile detention centre.
“When he first came in the house, he was introverted, a troubled young man who was like a lost pound puppy that nobody wanted,” Mrs Maruca-Kovac said.
Hawkins had dropped out of Papillion-La Vista High School without qualifications and a criminal record that included one drug conviction and several misdemeanour cases. His most recent arrest for underage possession of alcohol came 11 days before his shooting spree.
Since leaving school he had got a steady job, passed his driving test and earned a high school equivalency degree. Mrs Maruca-Kovac thought he was improving.
“He was depressed, and he had always been depressed,” she said. “But he looked like he was getting better.”
Mrs Maruca-Kovac is a medical nurse and she explained that Hawkins had been treated for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and depression but was not taking any medication. She said he also had a drinking problem and would occasionally smoke marijuana in his bedroom.
She spoke to Hawkins just before his shooting attack and found the suicide note he had left. “I was fearful that he was going to try to commit suicide but I had no idea that he would involve so many other families,” she said.
Mrs Maruca-Kovac described the note in which he said “he was sorry for everything, that he didn’t want to be a burden to anybody, he loved his family, he loved all of his friends. He was a piece of shit all of his life and now he’ll be famous."
By the time the nurse had discovered the truth she had already seen many of Hawkins's victims, who had been rushed into the medical centre where she works.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
“When we met with the Wampanoag people, they told us that in researching the history of Thanksgiving, they had confirmed the oral history passed down through their generations. Most Americans know that Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag, had welcomed the so-called Pilgrim Fathers—and the seldom-mentioned Pilgrim Mothers—to the shores where his people had lived for millennia. The Wampanoag taught the European colonists how to live in our hemisphere by showing them what wild foods they could gather, how, where, and what crops to plant, and how to harvest, dry and preserve them.
The Wampanoag now wanted to remind White America of what had happened after Massasoit’s death. Massasoit was succeeded by his son, Metacomet, whom the colonists called “King” Philip. In 1675-1676, to show “gratitude” for what Massasoit’s people had done for their fathers and grandfathers, the Pilgrims manufactured an incident as a pretext to justify disarming the Wampanoag.
The whites went after the Wampanoag with guns, swords, cannons and torches. Most, including Metacomet, were butchered. His wife and son were sold into slavery in the West Indies. His body was hideously drawn and quartered.
For twenty-five years afterward, Metacomet’s skull was displayed on a pike above the whites’ village. The real legacy of the Pilgrim Fathers is treachery. Most Americans today believe that Thanksgiving celebrates a boar harvest, but that is not so.
By 1970, the Wampanoag had turned up a copy of a Thanksgiving proclamation made by the governor of the colony; the text revealed the ugly truth: After a colonial militia had returned from murdering the men, women, and children of an Indian village, the governor proclaimed a holiday and feast to give thanks for the massacre. He encouraged other colonies to do likewise—in other words, every autumn the crops are in, go kill Indians and celebrate your murders with a feast.
The Wampanoag we met at Plymouth came from everywhere in Massachusetts. Like many other eastern nations, theirs had been all but wiped out. The survivors found refuge in other Indian nations that had not succumbed to European diseases or to violence. The Wampanoag went into hiding, or joined the Six Nations, or found homes among the Delaware Shawnee nations, to name a few. Some also sought refuge in one of the two hundred eastern-seaboard nations that were later exterminated.
Nothing remains of those nations but their names, and even some of those have been lost. Other Wampanoag, who couldn’t reach another Indian nation, survived by intermarriage with Black slaves or freedmen. It is hard to imagine a life terrible enough that people would choose instead, with all their progeny, to become slaves, but that is exactly what some Indians did.”
One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.
In fact, indigenous people have offered such a model; since 1970 they have marked the fourth Thursday of November as a Day of Mourning in a spiritual/political ceremony on Coles Hill overlooking Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, one of the early sites of the European invasion of the Americas.
Not only is the thought of such a change in this white-supremacist holiday impossible to imagine, but the very mention of the idea sends most Americans into apoplectic fits -- which speaks volumes about our historical hypocrisy and its relation to the contemporary politics of empire in the United States.
That the world's great powers achieved "greatness" through criminal brutality on a grand scale is not news, of course. That those same societies are reluctant to highlight this history of barbarism also is predictable.
But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin -- the genocide of indigenous people -- is of special importance today. It's now routine -- even among conservative commentators -- to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful.
One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter.
Some aspects of the conventional story are true enough. But it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.
Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.
The first president, George Washington, in 1783 said he preferred buying Indians' land rather than driving them off it because that was like driving "wild beasts" from the forest. He compared Indians to wolves, "both being beasts of prey, tho' they differ in shape."
Thomas Jefferson -- president #3 and author of the Declaration of Independence, which refers to Indians as the "merciless Indian Savages" -- was known to romanticize Indians and their culture, but that didn't stop him in 1807 from writing to his secretary of war that in a coming conflict with certain tribes, "[W]e shall destroy all of them."
As the genocide was winding down in the early 20th century, Theodore Roosevelt (president #26) defended the expansion of whites across the continent as an inevitable process "due solely to the power of the mighty civilized races which have not lost the fighting instinct, and which by their expansion are gradually bringing peace into the red wastes where the barbarian peoples of the world hold sway."
Roosevelt also once said, "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of ten are, and I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."
How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis? Here's how "respectable" politicians, pundits, and professors play the game: When invoking a grand and glorious aspect of our past, then history is all-important. We are told how crucial it is for people to know history, and there is much hand wringing about the younger generations' lack of knowledge about, and respect for, that history.
In the United States, we hear constantly about the deep wisdom of the founding fathers, the adventurous spirit of the early explorers, the gritty determination of those who "settled" the country -- and about how crucial it is for children to learn these things.
But when one brings into historical discussions any facts and interpretations that contest the celebratory story and make people uncomfortable -- such as the genocide of indigenous people as the foundational act in the creation of the United States -- suddenly the value of history drops precipitously and one is asked, "Why do you insist on dwelling on the past?"
This is the mark of a well-disciplined intellectual class -- one that can extol the importance of knowing history for contemporary citizenship and, at the same time, argue that we shouldn't spend too much time thinking about history.
This off-and-on engagement with history isn't of mere academic interest; as the dominant imperial power of the moment, U.S. elites have a clear stake in the contemporary propaganda value of that history. Obscuring bitter truths about historical crimes helps perpetuate the fantasy of American benevolence, which makes it easier to sell contemporary imperial adventures -- such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq -- as another benevolent action.
Any attempt to complicate this story guarantees hostility from mainstream culture. After raising the barbarism of America's much-revered founding fathers in a lecture, I was once accused of trying to "humble our proud nation" and "undermine young people's faith in our country."
Yes, of course -- that is exactly what I would hope to achieve. We should practice the virtue of humility and avoid the excessive pride that can, when combined with great power, lead to great abuses of power.
History does matter, which is why people in power put so much energy into controlling it. The United States is hardly the only society that has created such mythology. While some historians in Great Britain continue to talk about the benefits that the empire brought to India, political movements in India want to make the mythology of Hindutva into historical fact.
Abuses of history go on in the former empire and the former colony. History can be one of the many ways we create and impose hierarchy, or it can be part of a process of liberation. The truth won't set us free, but the telling of truth at least opens the possibility of freedom.
As Americans sit down on Thanksgiving Day to gorge themselves on the bounty of empire, many will worry about the expansive effects of overeating on their waistlines. We would be better to think about the constricting effects of the day's mythology on our minds.
The people who now describe themselves as ..Americans' actually stole their country from the Native Americans. They put the Indians in reservations (which got smaller and smaller). The Indians were civilised and spiritual but they had no guns and were an easy target. America was stolen by force.
At a meeting in New England in 1640 the following motions were put to the assembly.
1. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof.
2. The Lord may give the earth or any part of it to his chosen people.
3. We are his chosen people.
Naturally the assembled bunch of smug, barbarians voted ..yes' to all these motions, and thereby sanctified (in their minds) the theft of a nation.
It was generally agreed that the Indians were savages with no rights and yet both the American constitution and the Declaration of Independence were based on texts devised and used by Native American Indians - texts which included fundamental ideas on liberty, freedom and even legislature.
The American Government signed 370 treaties with the Native Indians but violated provisions in every one of these treaties.
The Americans now celebrate the theft of the country they call their own with a feast called Thanksgiving.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
In his fuming autobiography, The Long Road Out of Hell, shock musician Marilyn Manson reveals how years of false teaching about the return of Christ—and the apocalyptic conspiracy theories that enhance such teaching—left him feeling abused, cheated, and eventually caused him to reject Christianity. He, like so many within the church today, endured pounding lecture upon lecture about receiving the Mark of the Beast during these “last days.” “Those that don’t receive the mark, the number of his name (666)” warned Ms. Price, Manson’s Friday-night teacher at Heritage Christian School during the early 1980s, “will be decapitated before their families and neighbors.”
Then, as today, the Goth protagonist was told that the mark was concealed as the Universal Product Code that appears on everyday items in your grocery store, which, with the help of blatantly false reporting, works out to be the same demonic numbers, 666. All this was presented as fact—not opinion and never speculation—drawn straight from the Bible. Writes Manson, “They didn’t need proof; they had faith.”
Nightmares soon visited his 12-year-old mind. “I was thoroughly terrified by the idea of the end of the world and the Antichrist. So I became obsessed with it, watching movies like . . .A Thief in the Night, which described very graphically people getting their heads cut off because they hadn’t received 666 tattoos on their forehead.”
Manson’s landfill lyrics, lashing instrumentals and caustic stage sets were cited by damp-handed critics as propelling the murder and suicides at Colorado’s Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Indeed Manson canceled a Colorado concert soon after the shooting, reportedly in an attempt to avoid hostile demonstrations.
The study of End Times conspiracy theories shows we are hardwired to search for simple answers to overwhelming tragedy, especially when it involves the loss of children. Though we put our finger upon correct influences, we often overplay their import, which is understandable. So just as it is thin-headed to blame Manson for the sinister plans of vengeful, trench-coat-wearing youth there in Columbine, it would be equally wrong to blame the architects of today’s pop End Times prophecy as the sole cause of Manson’s descent; a dive made more likely in the pursuit of riches than to display his melding of transvestite and pro-wrestling outfits.
Though popular End Times prophecy is not the sole cause of his descent, its role cannot be easily dismissed. How we live and mis-live our lives is the result of many influences. When it comes to apocalyptic conspiracy theories shared by numerous Christians across America, those influences must not be discounted as irrelevant. End Times conspiracy theories have influenced millions of ordinary people and more noted ones such as David Koresh, his followers, the Weaver family on Ruby Ridge and Christian conspiracy theorists such as Norman Olson and Dean Compton, two of America’s more noted militia leaders who express End Times angst.
Popular and contemporary Bible prophecy and the conspiracy-prone political interpretation of the John Birch Society are dovetailed by influential church leaders such as Don McAlvany, Chuck Missler, Y2K doomster Gary North and others in this community of charismatic and self-appointed experts. It is a mindset that brought us the belief that the U.S. government intentionally killed civilians on Ruby Ridge, in Waco and at Oklahoma City as part of what they believe is a one-world government plot found in the book of Revelation, or what is commonly called the “New World Order.”
This mindset is one-part flesh (as with Waco, conspiracy theories often form around a grain of truth) and nine-part poltergeist (but as with Waco, around this grain of truth are many leaps in logic and selective reporting), graze upon our fear of the future. There is no better contemporary example than the recent Y2K hysteria that burned throughout Evangelical and Fundamentalist media. They also offer the allure of exclusive information, similar to their twin, psychic readings. Both provide a patterned and coherent world if only one is willing to truckle to their leadership and claims of exclusive knowledge. Both are accompanied by a reasonable price tag and bulging marketing, and both create a kind of crystal ball but with one telling difference; conspiracy theories appeal to the head while psychic readings appeal to the heart. They tickle the ears of those willing to pay for the newest tape or book on how to survive economic hell on earth, and those who will gladly spend two dollars a minute to discover if love is in their future.
Christian conspiracy theories are the modern-day equivalent of eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. As in the Garden of Eden, we long for such inside information and magic formulas of faith. But seeking solace in secret formulas was always forbidden by God—not because this shortcut worked, but because it did not. Mere knowledge of good and evil will never satisfy our longings or calm our fears. (Secrets, Plots & Hidden Agendas, What You Don’t Know About Conspiracy Theories p.199)
After a year passed, then another, then another, and the End-Times predictions of his youth panned out to be false, the young Marilyn Manson, who says he still has End-Times nightmares, felt cheated and lied to. “Gradually, I began to resent Christian school and doubt everything I was told.” He wrote in his notebook when he still went by his suburban birth name Brian Wardner, “Fools aren’t born. They are watered and grown like weeds by institutions such as Christianity.” Not exactly, Brian. Orthodox Christianity has always warned us not to call a conspiracy what others call a conspiracy (Isaiah 8:11-13). Also, many End-Times scenarios have more in common with a complex dualistic religion called Manicheism than a vibrant Christian faith (Secrets, Plots pp. 167, 198).
Brian and countless other forming boys and girls throughout the last 30 years have been caught in a net tied with earnest hands and hearts. Their innate fear of the future, mine included, was exploited in an attempt to drive them into the arms of a loving Savior. But perfect fear often casts out love. It was a message created by those who believe that there are no atheists in fearful Sunday School classes, but who refuse to acknowledge that a kid’s mind often changes when he walks into the sun of a new day. Worse, troubled Brian Wardners resent the fear and manipulation and curse the little god who they were told is behind it all. God-shock is inevitable and perhaps preacher David Hawking said it best:
“ . . .Oh, some of the prophecy preachers got a little out of hand . . .and we were even told that . . .when Israel became a nation in 1948 it would be forty years and then the Lord would come. So we back it up seven. So the rapture is coming in 1981. I’ve met people all over this country who believed that, followed that, anticipated that. It did not come and as a result many of them bombed out, dropped out, copped out; they’re not around anymore (emphasis added).” (Secrets, Plots, p.141)
It’s fitting but still distressing that Marilyn Manson, who adopted the names of two pop culture icons as his own—the first a likely victim of pop-culture fame and power, the second a sinister predator hell-bent on fame and power at any price—is himself an example of pop culture’s corrosive nature. There is the ever-present question of obligatory drug use. His lyrics rationalize that sturdy self-centeredness which he exploits so well, the same quality found in daytime soaps that are tailored toward a more sophisticated self-absorption. His body is a canvas of scars, reported to have more than four hundred. His mind, like all of ours, is a canvas as well. It began with a base layer of abuse by those who violated his young body with brutal blows and bewildering sexual acts. Then came his spiritual abuse at the hands of earnest pop-prophecy teachers, which on this canvas of the mind should be understood as splashes of blood red. They do not represent Redemption to Manson (pray that they will) but rage and disappointment with God. And the Devil walks laughing.
Paul Coughlin is a freelance journalist, photographer and former talk show host. He is author of Secrets, Plots & Hidden Agendas, What You Don’t Know About Conspiracy Theories (InterVarsity Press 1999), which investigates the political, psychological and theological components behind conspiracy thinking in America. The unabridged audio version is available through Blackstone Audiobooks.
Bible Reference: Isaiah 8: 11-13
11 The LORD spoke to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people. He said: 12 "Do not call conspiracy everything that these people call conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. 13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread,
I love a world a no absolutes! Open your mind....it is so beautiful. You learn so much more...anyway......
Do not pay attention to the reporters. They only are giving their uneducated opinions about this man. Neither has a degree in psychiatry and they are discussing his mind as if they do. They have an agenda.
To understand Manson's anger, you must understand the 60's. Movies that can help in this is "Steal this Movie: The Abbie Hoffman Story" and "The US vs John Lennon".....
Manson was a very intelligent man. Super genius. So smart it made him literally crazy.....or does he act crazy just for the public eye? I think it is an act myself.
Manson is nothing more than a man who has been shit on from society his entire life. His mother was a prostitute. He is a product of society. He understands though some key things about society that many of us never get unless we experience a rough upbringing....
Manson is so far ahead of himself and us in thought. He understands our society because of what he has been through. He understands they want only robots, slaves to do their work. He understands society is rigged through who knows who and who has the most money. He as most artists is angry that in a "FREE" society it is anything but "FREE"...
He also understood that we allow the blood of our children to be on our hands with the wars and the crime we create. That it is our responsibility, a responsibility that we refuse to ackknowledge.
Was it the drugs that opened his mind and gave him the ability to give this insight? Or is he just insane and rambling? Watch the interview. It is amazing...........
This is only a clip. See the whole thing....it has been on MSNBC.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
OiNK distributed albums often weeks ahead of their official release date. More than 60 major album releases had been leaked onto the Internet so far this year.
The site had an estimated membership of 180,000. People were only invited to become members if they could prove they had music to offer and had to keep posting tracks to maintain their membership.
It is alleged the site was operated by a 24-year-old man who lived near Middlesbrough in north-east England. He was arrested Tuesday. The site's servers, based in Amsterdam, were seized in raids last week.
The Interpol-coordinated raids followed a two-year investigation by the British Phonographic Industry and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry bodies.
"OiNK was central to the illegal distribution of pre-release music online," said Jeremy Banks, head of the IFPI's Internet anti-piracy unit.
"This was not a case of friends sharing music for pleasure. This was a worldwide network that got hold of music they did not own the rights to and posted it online."
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
By Rob Stein
A dangerous germ that has been spreading around the country causes more life-threatening infections than public health authorities had thought and is killing more people in the United States each year than the AIDS virus, federal health officials reported yesterday.
The microbe, a strain of a once innocuous staph bacterium that has become invulnerable to first-line antibiotics, is responsible for more than 94,000 serious infections and nearly 19,000 deaths each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calculated.
Although mounting evidence shows that the infection is becoming more common, the estimate published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association is the first national assessment of the toll from the insidious pathogen, officials said.
"This is a significant public health problem. We should be very worried," said Scott K. Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the CDC.
Other researchers noted that the estimate includes only the most serious infections caused by the germ, known as methicillin-resistant S taphylococcus au reus (MRSA).
"It's really just the tip of the iceberg," said Elizabeth A. Bancroft, a medical epidemiologist at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health who wrote an editorial in JAMA accompanying the new studies. "It is astounding."
MRSA is a strain of the ubiquitous bacterium that usually causes staph infections that are easily treated with common, or first-line, antibiotics in the penicillin family, such as methicillin and amoxicillin. Resistant strains of the organism, however, have been increasingly turning up in hospitals and in small outbreaks outside of heath-care settings, such as among athletes, prison inmates and children.
On Monday, Ashton Bonds, 17, of Lynch Station, Va., succumbed to MRSA, prompting officials to shut down 21 Bedford County schools today for cleaning to prevent further infections. The infection had spread to Bonds's kidneys, liver, lungs and the muscle around his heart.
The MRSA estimate is being published with a report that a strain of another bacterium, which causes ear infections in children, has become impervious to every approved antibiotic for youngsters.
"Taken together, what these two papers show is that we're increasingly facing antibiotic-resistant forms of these very common organisms," Bancroft said.
The reports underscore the need to develop new antibiotics and curb the unnecessary use of those already available, experts said. They should also alert doctors to be on the lookout for antibiotic-resistant infections so patients can be treated with the few remaining effective drugs before they develop serious complications, experts said.
MRSA, which is spread by casual contact, rapidly turns minor abscesses and other skin infections into serious health problems, including painful, disfiguring "necrotizing" abscesses that eat away tissue. The infections can often still be treated by lancing and draining sores and quickly administering other antibiotics, such as bactrim. But in some cases the microbe gets into the lungs, causing unusually serious pneumonia, or spreads into bone, vital organs and the bloodstream, triggering life-threatening complications. Those patients must be hospitalized and given intensive care, including intravenous antibiotics such as vancomycin.
In the new study, Fridkin and his colleagues analyzed data collected in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Tennessee, identifying 5,287 cases of invasive MRSA infection and 988 deaths in 2005. The researchers calculated that MRSA was striking 31.8 out of every 100,000 Americans, which translates to 94,360 cases and 18,650 deaths nationwide. In comparison, complications from the AIDS virus killed about 12,500 Americans in 2005.
"This indicates these life-threatening MRSA infections are much more common than we had thought," Fridkin said.
In fact, the estimate makes MRSA much more common than flesh-eating strep infections, bacterial pneumonia and meningitis combined, Bancroft noted.
"These are some of the most dreaded invasive bacterial diseases out there," she said. "This is clearly a very big deal."
The infection is most common among African Americans and the elderly, but also commonly strikes very young children.
"We see these cases all the time," said Robert S. Daum, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at the University of Chicago. "In the last five weeks, I've taken care of five children who were sick enough to be hospitalized and require intensive care."
Studies have shown that hospitals could do more to improve standard hygiene to reduce the spread of the infection. Individuals can reduce their risk through common-sense measures, such as frequent hand-washing.
In the second paper, Michael E. Pichichero and Janet R. Casey of the University of Rochester in New York documented the emergence of an antibiotic-resistant strain of another bacterium known as Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes common ear infections. Although all 11 children identified in the Rochester area with the microbe so far were successfully treated, five required an antibiotic approved only for adults, and one child was left with permanent hearing loss.
The researchers attributed the emergence of the strain to a combination of the overuse of antibiotics and the introduction of a vaccine that protects against the infection.
"The use of the vaccine created an ecological vacuum, and that combined with excessive use of antibiotics to create this new superbug," Pichichero said.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
How fuckin' dumb are people???
If you vote for anyone based on what party they belong too and do not educate yourself about who you are voting for, then you deserve to lose every right that you will lose for making such a blind ignorant decision.
You should not vote for Fred cause he owns a red pick up. You should not vote for Hillary cause she is a woman. You should not vote for Obama cause he is black.....that is just sheep mentality....
I can see now that we will only move farther backwards as long as this country has ignorant people who vote like this....
Use your brain and learn something. If you reading this, you have access to a mole hill of information...Google these people!
Or keep being sheep and this country will end up a police state that will be run by corporations, and you will have no rights unless you pay for them.....keep it up America!
As Russia predicted during the Cold War, we as Americans will destroy ourselves....
Friday, September 21, 2007
If you don't think that TV is propaganda. There is a new commercial that shows that users of a card such as debit or credit is faster than cash. DO NOT BELIEVE THIS BULLSHIT! It is not faster. You must wait for it to connect, approve and sometimes you must sign. People hate me when I pull my card over cash in line in a store. To be honest, I hate others who pull the card too when I am in line with cash! They want to know what you are buying with cash. This is why there is talk to put RFID chips in cash. To track it all........
Rather: Government Influencing Newsrooms
Sep 21, 12:39 AM (ET)
By SAMANTHA GROSS
NEW YORK (AP) - Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.
"Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news," he said on CNN's "Larry King Live."
In the suit, filed a day earlier in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Rather claimed CBS and Viacom Inc. (VIAB) used him as a "scapegoat" and intentionally botched the aftermath of a discredited story about President Bush's military service to curry favor with the White House. He was removed from his "CBS Evening News" post in March 2005.
"They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing, I think they undermined a lot at CBS News," he told King.
Rather didn't mention other instances in which he believed news organizations bowed to corporate and government pressure.
CBS spokesman Dana McClintock did not return an after-hours call seeking comment Thursday. He has called Rather's complaints "old news" and said the lawsuit was "without merit." A spokesman for Viacom declined to comment.
Journalism ethics scholar Bob Steele said Rather would have a difficult time proving that the White House or other political operatives exerted undue influence on CBS.
"It would be naive for us to believe that there was no influence from powerful institutions and individuals on journalism," said Steele, a scholar at the Poynter Institute, a journalism foundation in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Still, he said: "For the most part, the journalists who run news organizations and who report the news fight hard to protect the independence of the journalism, and most of the time succeed."
Rather narrated the September 2004 report that said Bush disobeyed orders and shirked some of his duties during his National Guard service. It also said a commander felt pressured to sugarcoat Bush's record.
The story relied on four documents, supposedly written by Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard, the late Lt. Col. Jerry Killian. Critics questioned the documents' authenticity and suggested they were forged.
A panel selected by the network to investigate the story determined that it was neither fair nor accurate. CBS fired the story's producer and asked for the resignations of three executives because it could not authenticate documents used in the story. Rather was forced out of the anchor chair he had occupied for 24 years.
On CNN, Rather dismissed the panel's review, claiming it was not impartial.
"This was in many ways a fraud. It was a setup," he told King.
Louis D. Boccardi, the retired chief executive of The Associated Press who made up the two-man investigative panel with Richard Thornburgh, the former U.S. attorney general, defended the panel's work Thursday night.
"Our report was independent, and it speaks for itself," he said, echoing comments made by Thornburgh on Wednesday. Both declined to comment further.
Police taser wheelchair-bound black woman to death
They were willing to vote to condemn free opinion by a grass roots organization about one of our generals. They were willing to vote on condemning free speech.....think about it....
Why in a free country is our Government saying you cannot express an opinion publicly? Why in a free society, any time a civilian criticizes the war or the military presence it is looked down upon and they call those who do this not supporting the troops?
President Bush has made the tours of duty longer, from 12 to 15 months, plus made the time between coming home and going back to war shorter. Do you think that is supporting the troops? By over working them and stretching our defenses to the breaking point is support for the troops?
The dems hands are tied. Big business has too many of them in their pocket. The core is rotten. No new president will change shit till we get money out of the picture in our politics.
It is suppose to be our world.........not theirs.....
Democrats Failing to Pass Anti-War Bill
Sep 21, 4:27 AM (ET)
By ANNE FLAHERTY
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats are unable to pass legislation that would challenge President Bush on the Iraq war, despite public opinion polls that show the war remains deeply unpopular with voters.
Failing to muster the support, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the war now belonged to Republicans and vowed they would have to go on record again and again as siding with President Bush. He scheduled a vote Friday on legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would order combat troops home in nine months.
"Back home they assert their independence, but in Washington they walk in lockstep with the president and continue to support his failed policies," said Reid, D-Nev.
Friday's vote caps off a week of disappointing roll calls for the Democrats, who had hoped that more Republicans would have jumped on board by now.
Recent polls show that American views of the war largely have not changed since Gen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, testified last week.
A poll released this week by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 54 percent of Americans still favor bringing troops home as soon as possible. And despite slight improvements in the public's view of military progress, more said the U.S. will likely fail in Iraq than succeed by 47 percent to 42 percent, about the same margin as in July.
On Wednesday, the Senate blocked legislation by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., that would have guaranteed troops more time at home; it fell by a 56-44 vote with 60 votes needed to advance. On Thursday, the Senate blocked legislation sponsored by Reid and Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., that would have cut off funding for combat in June 2008. That measure failed by a 70-28 vote, 32 votes short of 60.
Levin's bill too was expected to fall short of the 60 votes required, with Republicans saying they still oppose setting a firm deadline on the war.
"If we leave, we will be back - in Iraq and elsewhere - in many more desperate fights to protect our security and at an even greater cost in American lives and treasure," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee.
On Thursday, Republicans successfully pushed through a resolution condemning an advertisement by the liberal activist group MoveOn.org. Displayed in The New York Times, the ad taunted Petraeus as "General Betray Us."
The resolution, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, passed by a 72-25 vote.
House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House should consider a similar measure. But when asked if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would allow it, spokesman Nadeam Elshami said in an e-mail: "The House is going to devote its full attention to providing health care to children, promoting energy independence to improve America's security, reducing global warming, and responsibly redeploying U.S. forces now in Iraq.
"These are the priorities of the American people," he said.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Anyone with any type of intellect will question the bible. They will question God. How can a God blame you for using what was given to you in the first place? Can you imagine such a sadistic and irrational being?
His conclusion was that we cannot assume that a God that is of pure love would create a torture chamber such as hell. He began to teach this and his career as a preacher was ended.
Watch as Ted Haggart tells the reporter that Carlton Pierson will be going to hell. Let me remind you that good ole' judgemental Ted was having an affair with a homosexual while he was using amphetamines.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Revolution of the Mind:
Legalization of Marijuana:
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Part 1: The Beginning
Part 2: Lemuria
The blond haired people mentioned in this part is the same race that Hitler believed that was the superior race. The Nazi's believed they were descendants of this great race....
Also, text that date back to 7 thousand years B.C. speak of great civilizations that existed some 13 to 15 thousand years ago. These great civilizations had great technology and destroyed each other with weapons that burned the flesh off of bones. Weapons that made all life infected and sick days after the initial weapons were used. The text are from India. There are many text from that time that speak of such wars among great civilizations.
Let us also remember that the bible mentions giants who lived on the earth...
Part 3: Atlantis
The BBC has had 5 documentaries about Atlantis. Each one is hell bent on disproving this legend. I always questioned why the BBC was so one sided when it comes to the subject of Atlantis.
We must ask ourselves...is there a great cycle that is so vicious and large that we forget and are doomed to repeat it over & over till someone tells us the truth?
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
If you use the net, you must watch this documentary. The media companies want to control your Internet content the same way they control radio, TV and cable...we all know how well that has worked out. Most of the time on all 3 there is nothing but crap...
So why would we want the net to become the same way?
The future of the Internet is up for grabs. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) effectively eliminated net neutrality rules, which ensured that every content creator on the Internet-from big-time media concerns to backroom bloggers-had equal opportunity to make their voice heard. Now, large and powerful corporations are lobbying Washington to turn the World Wide Web into what critics call a "toll road," threatening the equitability that has come to define global democracy's newest forum. Yet the public knows little about what's happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.
More people must start speaking out or these companies will get their way. When they do, you will hate it. The airwaves and the net are the peoples and the companies that control them are making billions of dollars from our broadcast airwaves....
Why are our elections corrupt? Politicians must pay for media time. Those with the biggest pockets will get more exposure. So these politicians take serious money for campaign contributions for this media coverage. They then give these companies favors all the while screwing you....
If you do not think so, what are you paying for gas now then?
Think About It,
Dan the Man
Friday, May 18, 2007
Google has started to place warning labels above some Web links. Users that click anyway could end up allowing a criminal to hijack their computers. Click to watch Symantec researcher Eric Chien demonstrate how spammers used hijacked computers to cash in.
Don't click on attachments? Good. Always keep that firewall turned on? Even better. Stay away from the Internet's unsavory neighborhoods? Better still. Think you are protected?
Computer criminals are evolving their tactics to subdue your computer, experts say. Each time you invest more money and time in staying safe, the bad guys just find another way around your defenses. Their newest method may be the trickiest yet: Web pages booby-trapped with infectious computer code.
Such sites are popping up at an alarming rate, according to a new study issued by Google called “Ghost in the Browser.” (Adobe Acrobat required).
Unsuspecting Net users are victimized by simply doing what they do hundreds of times each day – visiting a Web page. Then, while the consumer browses content normally, a computer virus or Trojan horse program is silently installed.
In the study, Google found 300,000 Web sites laced with such malicious code, and another 700,000 suspicious sites. For perspective, the study found only 18,000 Web sites laced with adware.
So called drive-by downloads are not new, but criminals have seized on the tactic lately because their success rate with traditional e-mail viruses has tapered off thanks to improved software and consumer education. Avoiding e-mail viruses is fairly easy, as long as consumers following clear rules like "don't click on any attachments." But drive-by downloads are much more sinister, as no user interaction is required beyond opening an infected site in a Web browser.
Web 2.0 -- more risks
Dave Cole, a Symantec researcher, said even the tried-and-true advice to “stay out of the bad Web neighborhoods” doesn't work anymore. That’s largely because of the rapid increase in user-contribution Web 2.0-style sites -- sites like this blog that allow comments and other content to be uploaded. Hackers can often trick such Web sites into hosting their virulent computer code by using these tools to upload viruses. That means it's possible for consumers to visit what was once a harmless site -- say a blog they've looked at every day for a year without any problems -- and still become infected.
"Today it is not unlikely that you'll end up on a dangerous Web page even if you stick to good areas of ‘neighborhood,’” Cole said.
Once a consumer’s computer is infected by a drive-by download, it’s likely to become a zombie in an army of computers used by spammers to send out millions of unsolicited e-mails.
To see a demonstration of how spammers used hijacked computers to make money click on the video attached to this story. Video on How It Works:
The problem of hijacked computers – some believe as many as 100 million computers on the Net have been hijacked by hackers – is the subject of our recent three-part series, "Is Your Computer a Criminal."
The advent of drive-by downloads as the next important hacker tool puts search engines in the uncomfortable position of acting as a conduit between consumers and criminals. To counteract this threat, Google has quietly begun warning users whose searches turn up potentially malicious Web pages that "this site may harm your computer." The labeling began close to a year ago, said Google's Niels Provos, who co-authored the “Ghost in the Browser” report.
"The installation of software without user consent is something that can be detected easily," Provos said. The company ran billions of Web pages through a filter that looked for suspicious behavior. Of those, about 4.5 million pages tripped Google’s alarm, about 1 million contained some suspicious computer code and 450,000 were positively identified as dangerous. These sites now come with Google warning labels, and users must go to some trouble to actually visit the sites.
The practice has generated some controversy online, with a few writers criticizing Google for "policing" the Net and potentially censoring content. But Provos said the company has an appeals process for site owners who feel they have been improperly labeled as malicious, and that the firm is doing the right thing to keep users safe.
"We are taking the security of our users very seriously," Provos said. "No matter where the content comes from.”
RED TAPE WRESTLING TIPS Drive-by downloads are treacherous, but there are ways to minimize the likelihood that your computer will get hit. Provos suggests that computer users should:
• Use antivirus software and firewalls, along with services that automatically patch software like Windows. They won't keep you from visiting infectious Web sites, but they can stop the virus or Trojan horse from wreaking havoc on your computer.
• Visit only Web sites you trust. You can still become infected, but your odds of staying safe are better.
• Take the added precaution of running the Web browser in a "virtual machine," which isolates the browser software from the rest of the computer. Even if consumers visit a malicious site with a browser running in a virtual machine, the infection will not spread to the rest of the PC. Microsoft offers virtual PC software for both Macintosh and Windows, but only the Windows version is free. (An earlier version of this entry wrongly indicated that the Mac version was also free)
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Monday, May 14, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The first is that there has been an ongoing reduction in novelty among trivial trends. This means an increase in routine and repetition in all things mundane, both personal and cultural. Television and internet have also become more deeply embedded in modern life, increasing the amount of time we spend being mentally asleep during the day, decreasing the quality and quantity of memories. Due to distraction, repetition, and routine, the recent past offers less memorable content to reflect upon and thus appears shortened. When consulting the calendar we therefore notice the days flying by.
The second is that there has been a simultaneous increase in novelty among spiritually significant trends. Rate of growth among receptive individuals in terms of awareness and emotional maturity is accelerating. You may have changed more in the past two years than you did in the five years before that. When more personal growth is crammed into a shorter amount of time, it appears that things have picked up pace and more ground is being covered more quickly.
The combination of “days flying by” and “having come so far in so few years” contributes to our perception that time is speeding up. These may both be symptomatic of the shift from 3D to 4D if we recognize that linear time is giving way to nonlinear time, that priorities are shifting from the trivial to the spiritual in accordance with the 2012 and related paradigms. Linear time is measured in increments of trivialities such as astronomical or atomic motions, while nonlinear time is delineated in increments of freewill progressions. With a shift of priorities, trivialities fade into a repeating background pattern while spiritual events (leaps in awareness and maturity) increase in their frequency and novelty, both of which lead to the perception that time is speeding up for different reasons.
We may extrapolate this accelerating trend into the future and conclude that in the end, linear time will mean nothing and nonlinear time will mean everything. Or to put it another way, trivialities and the calendar will cease to exist for us altogether while increments of spiritual progress and freewill choices will be the new standard.
There is another interesting trend worth noting, which is that the more recently a person awakens from programmed sleep and into the pursuit of truth, the more rapid his or her growth from that point onward. I know several people who started their paths in the 1960s and 70s, and it took them about two decades to complete the first pass of their research, to come full circle and finally see the bigger picture. My awakening began in 1993 and I did not reach that point until 2003, so about a decade. Those I know who began in 2001 reached it by 2004, so three years. Now I am coming across people who are doing it in under a year, sometimes just a few months.
Part of that trend is due to the increased availability, quality, diversity, and accessibility of information pertaining to matters of truth. Those of the 60s and 70s had books, newsletters, telephone, personal meetings and mail correspondence. Then came fax machines, personal computers, BBS networks, personal printing and photocopying. Then came easy duplication of storage media, the internet with its websites, forums, and radio shows, and now we have broadband internet, wifi spots, p2p filesharing and free video streaming. For all its downsides, recent technology has served to accelerate the awakening, albeit indirectly and at the risk of de-socialization.
Another factor behind that trend may involve the fact that it doesn’t matter when or how we start, but when and where we end up. In other words, it doesn’t matter that someone started early but took longer while another starts late and through some crash courses has reached similar levels of awareness. What matters is that when the time comes, people are on the same page and capable of carrying out what they came here to do, and so those who start late will indeed have to learn more quickly to be ready in time.
I think both the technological and metaphysical parts are related, the first serving the latter as part of some greater plan. And yes, I am aware that Ahrimanic/NWO forces are behind the flowering of technology, that the internet is the perfect device for profiling dissenters and so on, however the dark side takes a gamble with everything it does and risks having its means unexpectedly judo-flipped into accomplishing unintentionally positive ends.
Now if we project this trend into the future, we can see that there will be an increasing number of people awakening, and they will have to get with the picture quicker than ever, perhaps due to the simple spreading of awareness among those desperate for answers in increasingly desperate times. This suggests that demand will skyrocket along with the availability and quality of information, but supply can only meet demand if there are more sources available to provide it, more people refining and providing it. We cannot expect technology like the internet to stick around forever, and so dissemination of guidance and information may increasingly shift towards personal rather than technological methods.
In a practical sense, for us this means we would do well to initially become better educated on matters of truth and grow more skilled in communicating them. It is a good idea to become more streamlined, discerning, and capable of providing primary sources like books, websites, videos, etc… to the receptive when the occasion arises. Why? Both to increase our capacity to meet the potential future demand, and to presently act as a channel for synchronicity to trigger the awakening and empowerment of others.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The 2006 hurricane season turned out to be mild, and the new pumps were never pressed into action. But the Corps and the politically connected manufacturer of the equipment are still struggling to get the 34 heavy-duty pumps working properly.
The pumps are now being pulled out and overhauled because of excessive vibration, Corps officials said. Other problems have included overheated engines, broken hoses and blown gaskets, according to the documents obtained by the AP.
Col. Jeffrey Bedey, who is overseeing levee reconstruction, insisted the pumps would have worked last year and the city was never in danger. Bedey gave assurances that the pumps should be ready for the coming hurricane season, which begins June 1.
The Corps said it decided to press ahead with installation, and then fix the machinery while it was in place, on the theory that some pumping capacity was better than none. And it defended the manufacturer, which was under time pressure.
“Let me give you the scenario: You have four months to build something that nobody has ever built before, and if you don’t, the city floods and the Corps, which already has a black eye, could basically be dissolved. How many people would put up with a second flooding?” said Randy Persica, the Corps’ resident engineer for New Orleans’ three major drainage canals.
The 34 pumps — installed in the drainage canals that take water from this bowl-shaped, below-sea-level city and deposit it in Lake Pontchartrain — represented a new ring of protection that was added to New Orleans’ flood defenses after Katrina. The city also relies on miles of levees and hundreds of other pumps in various locations.
The drainage-canal pumps were custom-designed and built under a $26.6 million contract awarded after competitive bidding to Moving Water Industries Corp. of Deerfield Beach, Fla. It was founded in 1926 and supplies flood-control and irrigation pumps all over the world.
Ties to Jeb Bush
MWI is owned by J. David Eller and his sons. Eller was once a business partner of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in a venture called Bush-El that marketed MWI pumps. And Eller has donated about $128,000 to politicians, the vast majority of it to the Republican Party, since 1996, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
MWI has run into trouble before. The U.S. Justice Department sued the company in 2002, accusing it of fraudulently helping Nigeria obtain $74 million in taxpayer-backed loans for overpriced and unnecessary water-pump equipment. The case has yet to be resolved.
Because of the trouble with the New Orleans pumps, the Corps has withheld 20 percent of the MWI contract, including an incentive of up to $4 million that the company could have collected if it delivered the equipment in time for the 2006 hurricane season.
Misgivings about the pumps were chronicled in a May 2006 memo provided to the AP by Matt McBride, a mechanical engineer and flooded-out Katrina victim who, like many in New Orleans, has been closely watching the rebuilding of the city’s flood defenses.
The memo was written by Maria Garzino, a Corps mechanical engineer overseeing quality assurance at an MWI test site in Florida. The Corps confirmed the authenticity of the 72-page memo, which details many of the mechanical problems and criticizes the testing procedures used.
About a dozen of the 34 pumps on order were already in place in New Orleans when Garzino wrote her report, according to Bedey.
In her memo, Garzino told corps officials that the equipment being installed was defective. She warned that the pumps would break down “should they be tasked to run, under normal use, as would be required in the event of a hurricane.”
Monday, February 26, 2007
As growing season begins in California's Central Valley, there is nothing quite as busy as a beekeeper. Farmers pay them to put their hives in their fields and orchards.
"It means the difference between profit and loss for them," says beekeeper Lance Sundberg.
But beekeepers like Sundberg have a mystery in their hives this year. Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate.
"Colonies are going down. The bees aren't dead in the box or aren't out front," says Jerry Bromenshenk, a bee researcher at the University of Montana. "They've just disappeared. Just vanished."
Bromenshenk is leading a team of bee researchers looking for a cause. He's even listening to hives for signs of distress. Beekeepers in 22 states have reported bees dying in huge numbers.
Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture says parasites and disease have killed bees in the past, but never anything like this.
"We went through multiple hives and we couldn't find anything that I would even call a beehive, so it was depressing," Pettis says.
Part of the mystery is that colonies can go from active and healthy to dead and gone within days. For beekeepers, that's a loss that stings.
They "just disappeared," says beekeeper Louise Rossberg. "There's nothing there. There's no bees on the ground anywhere. There's just a completely empty hive."
In just a few weeks, Rossberg has seen hundreds of her hives go empty. "I don't know what to do," she says. "And I'm not alone."
For now, plenty of beekeepers are stacking up silent and empty hives. But scientists are working hard to find the cause and a cure for what's ailing the bees. After all bees do for us, it's the least we can do for them.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Scott Hinds, 23, is a defendant in one of a number of lawsuits by Recording Industry of America affiliates seeking to halt illegal sharing of copyrighted songs -- a once-widespread practice some maintain was "fair use," encouraged by certain computer software.
As artists attempt to regain control of their music -- and reap profits from sales -- recording industry spokeswoman Amanda Hunter said 18,000 individuals have been sued in similar lawsuits since September 2003, but Hinds is one of only six defendants in Maine.
Hinds said he is not yet represented by a lawyer.
Monday, he wondered: "Why choose me?"
"Every single person has done this," he said, saying he doesn't listen to music online presently.
The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, alleges Hinds illegally downloaded:
n "Automobile" by NWA, Priority Records, LLC;
n "All Over You" by LIve, UMG Recordings Inc.;
n "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, Elektra Entertainment Group;
n "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones, Capitol Records Inc.; and
n "What Would You Say" by Dave Matthews Band, BMG Music.
The allegation is that Hinds used an "online media distribution system" to download tunes, then distributed the copyrighted material to others.
The lawsuit doesn't identify the download service Hinds allegedly used, nor does it identify individual users who allegedly obtained the copyrighted music from Hinds.
According to the association, "online investigators searched for copyrighted recordings made available by individuals on peer-to-peer networks."
They then filed a lawsuit against Internet service providers prompting them to identify individuals who allegedly shared music files.
Hinds faces a minimum civil penalty of $750 per song. There can be criminal penalties as well.
If guilty, Hinds would hardly be the first person found downloading music on the Internet; the Internet has been chockablock with sites offering free music almost since there have been browsers and bandwidth.
The most well-known site -- Napster, founded in 1999 by 18-year-old college dropout Shawn Fanning -- signed up 25 million users in its first year.
In 2000, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Napster, charging "tributary copyright infringement" -- an allegation that Napster was not violating copyright itself, but was contributing to and facilitating other people's infringement.
The premise of the civil lawsuit against Hinds is a December 2005 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court's 2004 opinion in MGM Studios, Inc., v. Grokster Ltd.
In the latter case, the court found "that a distributed file-sharing system is engaged in contributory copyright infringement when its principal object is the dissemination of copyrighted material.
"The foundation of this holding is a belief that people who post or download music files are primary infringers."
Friday, February 02, 2007
China's Space-Weapon Test Could Endanger Astronauts and Satellites. Engineers Say Ring of Debris Is Forming in Orbit, and a Marble-Sized Piece Could be Dangerous
By NED POTTER
Feb. 1, 2007 — - When the Chinese government destroyed one of its weather satellites in a military test last month, it sent a chill through the U.S. military.
And engineers say it had a serious side effect -- it increased the amount of orbiting space junk by about 10 percent.
That could mean danger -- to other satellites, and even, possibly, to astronauts on the International Space Station and future space shuttle flights.
"There's a lot of stuff up there in low-Earth orbit," said T.S. Kelso, a veteran space-surveillance analyst who is now at the Center for Space Standards and Innovation in Colorado Springs, Colo. "While we can't tell them that 'five months from now, you're at risk for being hit,' it's not unreasonable to expect that it's going to affect a lot of stuff in orbit."
500 Pieces of Debris, Possibly Thousands More
The Chinese test, carried out on Jan. 11, was at once complex and very simple. An old weather satellite, passing 537 miles overhead, was targeted by a missile launched from a Chinese military base.
The missile hit the satellite with deadly precision. The missile carried no bomb because it didn't need one. The satellite was pulverized by the impact.
But what followed was chaos in space. As of today, Kelso reports that American radar is tracking at least 525 pieces of debris from the collision -- each at least the size of a baseball.
There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller ones.
The pieces are gradually spreading out in a ring around the Earth, creating a vast area where spacecraft face increased danger of being hit.
"We've already seen in the range of 500 to 600 events where some piece of debris from this one event was coming within 5 kilometers [about 3 miles] of some payload," said Kelso.
It's a growing problem. The U.S. Air Force was already tracking almost 14,000 objects in orbit.
Three times in the last 15 years, U.S. satellites have reportedly been disabled or damaged by collisions with space junk. NASA is worried enough about the problem that each shuttle crew now spends the entire day before landing taking pictures of its ship's heat shield tiles, just in case there's been a small but potentially fatal impact.
If a shuttle crew ever does find damage, the astronauts would have to seek safe haven on the International Space Station, and wait for a second shuttle to get them. Such an accident, NASA's administator, Michael Griffin, has said, would probably mean the end of the shuttle program.
The Chinese weather satellite, designated Fen Yung-IC, was in an orbit that took it over the North and South poles. It's an orbit that's popular for weather, reconnaissance and Earth-science satellites because it allows daily pictures of virtually every part of the planet below.
"There are about 125 or 130 satellites in that same orbit," said Theresa Hitchens, head of the Center for Defense Information, a Washington-based group that provides information on national defense and aerospace isues. "It's a highly used orbit, and it's an orbit that's already fairly polluted."
Shuttles travel in a very different path; all but one of the remaining 13 missions is scheduled for assembly of the space station, about 220 miles high. But the ring of debris from the Chinese debris has already spread out enough that the station passes through it twice on every 90-minute orbit of the earth.
How great is the danger? They don't call it "space" for nothing; there is a lot of empty void in the realm where most spacecraft orbit. NASA has said it's not worried.
But the debris from the Chinese test has added to the small chance of a big catastrophe.
"We can't see it, we can't track it," said Hitchens, "and something as small as a marble can shatter a satellite."
Texas Requires Cancer Vaccine for Girls
By LIZ AUSTIN PETERSON
Associated Press Writer
AUSTIN (AP) -- Gov. Rick Perry ordered Friday that schoolgirls in Texas must be vaccinated against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer, making Texas the first state to require the shots.
The girls will have to get Merck & Co.'s new vaccine against strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV, that are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer.
Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating it Gardasil vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country.
Details of the order were not immediately available, but the governor's office confirmed to The Associated Press that he was signing the order and he would comment Friday afternoon.
Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company's three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff's mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
Toomey was expected to be able to woo conservative legislators concerned about the requirement stepping on parent's rights and about signaling tacit approval of sexual activity to young girls. Delisi, as head of the House public health committee, which likely would have considered legislation filed by a Democratic member, also would have helped ease conservative opposition.
Perry also received $6,000 from Merck's political action committee during his re-election campaign.
It wasn't immediately clear how long the order would last and whether the legislation was still necessary. However it could have been difficult to muster support from lawmakers who champion abstinence education and parents' rights.
Perry, a conservative Christian who opposes abortion rights and stem- cell research using embryonic cells, counts on the religious right for his political base.
But he has said the cervical cancer vaccine is no different than the one that protects children against polio.
"If there are diseases in our society that are going to cost us large amounts of money, it just makes good economic sense, not to mention the health and well being of these individuals to have those vaccines available," he said.
Texas allows parents to opt out of inoculations by filing an affidavit stating that he or she objected to the vaccine for religious or philosophical reasons.
Even with such provisions, however, conservative groups say mandates take away parents' rights to be the primary medical decision maker for their children.
The federal government approved Gardasil in June, and a government advisory panel has recommended that all girls get the shots at 11 and 12, before they are likely to be sexually active.
The New Jersey-based drug company could generate billions in sales if Gardasil _ at $360 for the three-shot regimen _ were made mandatory across the country. Most insurance companies now cover the vaccine, which has been shown to have no serious side effects.
Merck spokeswoman Janet Skidmore would not say how much the company is spending on lobbyists or how much it has donated to Women in Government. Susan Crosby, the group's president, also declined to specify how much the drug company gave.
A top official from Merck's vaccine division sits on Women in Government's business council, and many of the bills around the country have been introduced by members of Women in Government.