Monthly Archives: July 2012

Aurora ‘Batman’ Shootings Conspiracy Theory Questioned

It’s somehow more comfortable for people to believe in uncomfortable conspiracy theory than to believe someone would, like, just do something like this. Especially when they can fit the theory to their already held beliefs.

The bodies in Aurora, Colorado weren’t even cold before the inevitable conspiracy theories began to propagate in the bacterial petri dish that is the internet.

 

While most people are content to let the investigation into the Dark Knight Rises murder spree evolve under the auspices of local and federal law enforcement, there exists a fringe for whom no amount of physical distance from, or baseless conjecture about, a national tragedy is too far to not support unlikely theories of United Nations false-flag attacks and other tinfoil cap speculations.

 

The current conspiracy du jour is that James Holmes’ attack on a packed audience watching a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises was in actuality an atrocity planned in advance by elements within the federal government and/or the United Nations. Those advocating this claim are pointing to several shaky bits of “evidence” that are in actuality nothing of the sort. This isn’t surprising, though: it costs practically nothing to make baseless accusations under the guise of “just asking questions”, and there’s much to be gained by doing so in terms of attention and notoriety. (Just ask Glenn Beck.)

 

Let’s take a look at some of the points being raised by those who believe that a government conspiracy was behind the Aurora shootings:

 

1) Everyone remembers James Holmes as a happy, normal fellow, so he couldn’t have done this unless he was coerced through mind control technology.
Disregarding the mind control/MK ULTRA talk, this is the hoariest cliche in crime reportage: “He was such a good neighbor…such a quiet fellow…you’d never think he’d do such a thing.” In actuality, Holmes’ schoolmates recall him as “strange” and “a little off.” He was in the process of withdrawing from his PhD program in the months before the shootings. There’s also some indication that a profile at Adult Friend Finder may have belonged to him. That’s no crime, of course, but the fact that his profile states “Will you visit me in prison?” might raise an eyebrow or two.

 

2) There’s no way this guy could have gotten all of those weapons and that tactical gear.
Not a chance. I’m nowhere near wealthy and I own three firearms myself, upon which I’ve spent about $600. I could easily acquire a shotgun and a rifle for maybe a couple thousand more if I look around town. That’s not even including the internet, where apparently Holmes did much of his own shopping. The gas mask? I own one, myself. Fully functional Russian surplus. Bought it for a Halloween costume. It’s also perfectly legal to buy a bullet-proof vest and you can do so at many places online or locally. Same thing with any other protective gear. As for the cost, all I can say is that none of us have access to his financial records, and if I were planning on spending the rest of my life in jail (or dead) then it would probably be pretty easy for me to liquidate my assets to acquire whatever I needed.

 

3) Someone must have trained him how to use it all!
Not necessary at all. I know how to strap on protective gear, and I bet you could do so, too. Firearm training? Also unnecessary. The audience members were sitting ducks. Many of them thought that Holmes was part of the show – after all, there were plenty of people wearing costumes. They had little reason to be alarmed until the bullets started flying. it takes little skill to shoot indiscriminately into a field full of targets. Pistols are another matter, but there have been many, many accounts of basically unskilled people using pistols to take many lives in other mass murders. The man killed a dozen people out of probably hundreds trapped in an enclosed space. It’s a tragedy, but this isn’t the work of a professional marksman.

 

4) Someone must have let him in!
Yes, that’s definitely possible: We think that he came in through the emergency exit, from what I understand. Someone might have agreed to do so thinking that he just wanted to sneak into the movie for free, or maybe someone left it open on accident. Perhaps Holmes himself had come in at some point prior and left it open. Or maybe he pried the door open from the other side. Who knows? Any of these seem likely – or at least likelier than a government agent opening the door and shoving Holmes in. All that we know is that he got in somehow.

 

5) He turned himself in! Who turns himself in?
You’re right: most of these guys off themselves. But not all of them! It does happen. Simply because Holmes didn’t take the extra step of killing himself doesn’t make him the Manchurian Candidate. Maybe he lacked the guts. Certainly, the fact that he left his apartment booby trapped seems to imply that he had originally planned on not coming back alive.

 

6) He timed his attack perfectly to coincide with the sound of gunshots!
It wouldn’t take an idiot to figure that one out, and if you’ve ever worked at a theater then you’ll know that you can easily hear the noises a movie makes when you’re standing near a door. Plus, it’s an action film about a terrorist villain. You could probably just walk in any time and have a pretty good chance of doing so during a gunfight or explosion.

 

7) They’re coming to take our guns! This is why they did it!
A major linchpin in the conspiracy theory is that this was done to justify the United States’ signing on to the United Nations Small Arms Resolution. From here, the theory goes, the powers that be will have all of the justification it needs to take America’s weapons away. There are a few problems with this. The first is that the UN Small Arms Resolution concerns the trafficking of conventional firearms between member countries, not the buy, sell or trade of firearms within member countries. The second is that no matter what the UN wants, the United States would still have to develop new legislature and pass it through the same process any other law goes through.

 

The FBI knew! The FBI knew!
There’s a video currently making the rounds that purports to show a FBI warning regarding potential terrorist attacks at movie theaters. The same video claims that the warning was removed from the internet around the same time of the shooting. The video – and thus, the document – has only one source, and it is being propagated through conspiracy circles at the speed of light. Presuming that one trusts the originator of the document that it is legitimate, then this in itself becomes highly problematic. Why would the FBI issue a warning of an attack in the first place if their brothers in arms are planning the same attack? Further, the document is clearly marked as a “Roll Call” release, one of a line of internal documents created by the Department of Homeland Security’s Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group. My point is that they were clearly intended for internal use. If you’re part of a conspiracy, why alert everyone else? The document was never intended for public release, which might also explain why it “disappeared” after being posted. Finally, warnings about terrorist attacks in public places aren’t new. People have been talking about attacks in shopping centers and other public places for years.

 

9) The feds do this kind of thing all the time!
No, the feds don’t mass murder dozens of civilians all the time. They’ve set up plenty of sting operations with would-be terrorists (often with dummy explosives and that kind of thing), and they’ve even fouled up their share of investigations (“Fast and Furious”) and applied a jackhammer to situations that would require a feather touch (Waco) with horrific results, but coordinating the murder of a the theater full of suburbanites watching a comic book movie? No, that’s not something that typically falls under the purview of the federal government. You simply can’t look at past cases in which you suspect government malfeasance and use them as “proof” of malfeasance in this attack.

 

I suppose that nearly anything is possible, but which sounds like a more likely possibility: (1) A young man who most people remember as a bit of an oddball snaps and goes on a shooting rampage (something that has happened many, many times before); or (2) International conspirators band together in a coordinated assault on the residents of a Colorado town in a black operation to support the roll-out of  total gun control in America. I know where I stand. Do you?

 

Source

The Olympic Torch Tradition

The Olympic torch relay is not an ancient and noble tradition but was invented by the Nazis to glorify the Third Riech at the 1936 Berlin Games.

At the Seoul opening ceremony in 1988, some of the doves released were accidentally incinerated in the Olympic flame.

The current corporate version of the torch relay:

Ab Fab:

 

Banks Behaving Badly

Break the law? “Sorry about that!” will usually do, if you are a Big Bank

Here are some recent improprieties by the big banks:

  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See thisthis andthis
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Detailshereherehereherehereherehereherehereherehere and here
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers.  See thisthis,thisthis and this.  This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See thisthisthisthis and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See thisthis and this
  • Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See thisthis and this
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments

The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees.  But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.

Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud.  See thisthis andthis.

But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?

Actually:

  • The big banks have slashed lending since they were bailed out by taxpayers … while smaller banks have increased lending. See thisthis and this

Source

Light on Life by BKS Iyengar – Chapter 7: Living In Freedom

Here is my last selection of quotes and extracts from Light on Life. In this final chapter, he’s writing about ethics, conceptions of God, truth, together with the full meaning of yoga.

The yogi is utterly disinterested but paradoxically full of being engagement of compassion. He is in the world but not of it.

Spiritual maturity exists when there is no difference between thought itself and the action that accompanies it. If there is a discrepancy between the two, then one is practising self-deception and projecting a false image of oneself.

Yogic knowledge is a centripetal force, for ever discarding the irrelevant in order to invest in search for the core of being where enduring truth resides.

Savasana is about relaxation, but what prevents relaxation? Tension. Tension results from clutching tightly to life–and in turn being held by the myriad invisible threads that ties us to the known world, the known ‘I’, and the known environment in which it operates.

To relax is to cut tension. To cut tension is to cut the threads that bind us to identity. To lose identity is to find out who we are not. Intelligence is the scalpel that cuts away the unreal to leave only the truth. As you are lying on the earth in savasana, do you not when the posture is harmonious and balanced, feel both present and formless? When you feel present yet formless, do you not feel an absence of specific identity? You are there, but who’s there? No one. Only present awareness without movement and time is there. Present awareness is the disappearance of time in human consciousness.

If you try to imagine time without using spatial concepts you will find it extremely difficult.

As a length of time, the present simply does not exist. How then can we live in the present? It is a paradoxical impossibility.

Dharma is about the search for enduring ethical principles, about the cultivation of right behaviour in physical, moral, mental, psychological, and spiritual dimensions.

The earliest Latin root of the word ‘religion’ means to be aware, and absolute awareness will never perceive difference or conflict.

The yogi cannot be afraid to die, because he has brought life to every cell of his body. We are afraid to die because we are afraid we have not lived.

One’s spiritual growth is only ever demonstrated by one’s actions in the world.

Ethics is the glue that binds earth to heaven. One cannot serve two masters. The only way human beings can reconcile the paradox of the demands of earth and soul is through the observation of ethical principles.

Cheats always lose. They are unmasked because they are transparently dishonest, deceive themselves, and fail in their human duty.

Action mirrors man’s personality better than his words.

It is better not to believe in God and act as though he existed, than to believe in God and act as if he did not exist.

Normally when we question anyone about whether he believes in God or not, we reduce God to a material thing. We reduce him to the level of matter, to something that can be believed in. Therefore it becomes a matter of belief. As the universe, which is beyond the reach of our consciousness, is unknown to us, so the entity that is God, which is beyond the reach of our consciousness, is unknown to us.

As has one increasingly feels the existence and pull of the divine, one’s actions more easily align with the ethical impulse of the absolute.

Spirituality is not playacting at being holy but the inner passion and urge for self realisation and the need to find the ultimate purpose of our existence.

Truth is an absolute of staggering power.

As yoga practice develops and the afflictions and obstacles to yoga interfere with us less, we begin to have some inkling of the glory of truth.

We should not use truth as a club with which to beat other people. Morality is not about looking at other people and finding them inferior to ourselves. Truth has got to be tempered with social grace.

Love is an investment, lust is a waste.

Ego is on an elastic and will always pull you back. Only the practice of meditation will eventually erode the attraction between ego and self-identity.

Surrender to God is not surrender to what you think God wants. It is not surrender to your conception of the will of God. It is not God giving you instructions. As long as ego persists, your interpretation of God’s wishes will be fragmented by the distorting prism of ego.

The ultimate reach of yoga is the total transformation of consciousness that pervades our whole being with awareness and that knows no frontiers.

My body and mind are the servers and followers of the soul. The unity of these three gives me the right to call myself a yogi.

The complexity of the life of the mind comes to an end at death, with all its sadness and happiness. If one is already free from that complexity, death comes naturally and smoothly.

Higgs on the Higgs boson discovery – God Particle short for Goddamn Particle

Peter Higgs (of the Higgs Boson Higgses) would like to correct a couple of misconceptions.

First off, the discovery of the Higgs Boson (if that is, indeed, what has been discovered) neither proves nor disproves the existence of a deity. In fact, the Higgs Boson has nothing to do with God at all. It’s important to physicists, sure. As we’ve talked about here before, Higgs Bosons are thought to be a key part of explaining why some sub-atomic particles have more mass than others. But that does not really overlap with religious significance. In fact, according to Higgs, the name “God Particle” is actually a politeness-corrupted version of “Goddam Particle”—so called because the goddam particle was so difficult to find.

Second: Over the last couple of days, you may have been wondering what practical applications could come out of the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Peter Higgs has a response for that. To paraphrase: “Damned if I know.”

Source

20 Years Ago: Das EFX – They want EFX

First in a new series highlighting music from 20 years ago.

First up, Das EFX with They want EFX from the debut album Dead Serious. Crazy lyrics, bonkers delivery, the funkiest samples. In the sewers. Great!

Bum stiggedy bum stiggedy bum, hon, I got the old pa-rum-pum-pum-pum 
But I can fe-fi-fo-fum, diddly-bum, here I come 
So peter piper, I'm hyper than pinochio's nose 
I'm the supercalafragilistic tic-tac pro 
I gave my oopsy, daisy, now you've got the crazy 
Crazy with the books, googley-goo where's the gravy 
So one two, unbuckle my, um shoe 
Yabba doo, hippity-hoo, crack a brew 
So trick or treat, smell my feet, yup I drippedy-dropped a hit 
So books get on your mark and spark that old censorship 
Drats and double drats, I smiggedy-smacked some whiz kids 
The boogedy-woogedly brooklyn boy's about to get his, dig 
My waist bone's connected to my hip bone 
My hip bone's connected to my thigh bone 
My thigh bone's connected to my knee bone 
My knee bone's connected to my hardy-har-har-har 
The jibbedy-jabber jaw ja-jabbing at your funny bone, um 
Skip the ovaltine, I'd rather have a honeycomb 
Or preferably the sesame, let's spiggedy-spark the blunts, um 
Dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx 

Well I'll be darned, shiver me timbers, yo head for the hills 
I picked a weeping willow, and a daffodil 
So back up bucko or I'll pulverize mcgruff 
'cause this little piggy gets busy and stuff 
Arrivederci, heavens to mercy, honky tonk I get swift 
I caught a snuffleufagus and smoked a boogaloo spliff 
I got the nooks, the cranies, the nitty gritty fodey-doe 
All aboard, cast away, hey where's my boogaloo? 
Oh I'm steaming, agony 
Why's everybody always picking on me 
They call me puddin' tane, and rap's my game 
You ask me again and I'll t-tell you the same 
'cause I'm the vulgar vegemintarian, so stick 'em up freeze 
So no park sausages, mom, please 
A-blitz shoots the breeze, twiddly-dee shoots his lip 
Crazy dazy shot the sheriff, yup and I shot the gift 
And that's pretty sneaky, sis oh yep 
I got my socks off, my rocks off, my nestle's cup of cocoa 
Holly hobby tried to slob me, tried to rob me silly stunt 
Diggedy-dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx 

Yahoo, hidee-ho yup I'm coming around the stretch 
So here fido boy, fetch, boy, fetch 
I got the rope-a-dope a slippery choker, look at me get raw 
And I'm the hickory-dickory top of morning boogoloo big jaw 
With the yippedy zippedy winnie the pooh bad boy blue, 
Yo crazy got the gusto, what up, I swing that too 
So nincompoop give a hoot and stomp a troop without a strain 
Like roscoe b. coltrane 
I spiggedy-spark a spiff and give a twist like chubby checker 
I take my froot loops with two scoops, make it double decker 
Oh vince, the baby come to papa duke 
A babaloo, ooh, a babaloo boogedy boo 
I went from gucci to stussy, to fliggedy-flam a groupie 
To zsa zsa, to yibbedy-yabba dabba hoochie koochie 
Tally ho i-i'll take my stove top instead of potatoes, so 
Maybe I'll shoot 'em now, nope maybe I'll shoot 'em later, yep 
I used to have a dog and bingo was his name oh, so uh 
B - I - n - g - o-oh 
You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, hon, so uh 
Dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun 

They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
They want efx, some live efx 
Snap a neck for some live efx

Scrap Book: Flooded House in Broughton Gifford, 1986

Here I am, aged 15, in our wrecked kitchen in Broughton Gifford. While camping in north Wales we were visited by a policeman who had tracked us down to our pre-mobile phone camping idyl to tell us that neighbours had reported water streaming down the outside of our house. Holiday aborted, we returned to a very sodden home. A pipe had burst in the attic. We dragged everything outside to dry and salvage what we could. Cue total refit for most rooms and the ill-advised allowing us to choose our own decor for bedrooms – diagonal red stripes, walls and carpet for me!

Weekend Walk 37 – Wickham, Funtley, Knowle

A Hampshire walk from Wickham including Webbs Land Farm, Botley Wood, Stonyfield Copse, Funtley, River Meon, Knowle Village, Knowle Asylum Cemetery, Mayles, and finishing on the Meon Valley Trail with a wedding taking place at Wickham Church, the bells ringing out. Lots of horses and a reunion of a pony with its mother.

How the hospital/asylum once looked. The cemetery is in the woods top right.

Brian Cox on the Higgs boson whatsits

On the BBC:

This is without doubt in my opinion the biggest scientific discovery of my lifetime and without doubt one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time, so I’m tremendously excited… This day will go down as one of the great days in the history of science I think, and that’s not overly hyperbolic.

This is a prediction that was made almost 50 years ago. And the prediction is that the universe, everywhere, empty space, everywhere you look, every little cubic centimetre of space in front of you and inside your body and across the universe, is rammed full of Higgs particles, and everything that makes up your body, the little subatomic particles in your hand, are bouncing off them, and that’s how they get their mass.

And more than that the theory said that these Higgs particles condensed out into empty space less than a billionth of a second after the universe began. It sounds very esoteric and fundamental. But what we’ve shown today is that’s right. That’s actually how the universe works. So it’s one of the central planks of our understanding of how everything in the universe works.

And even though, throughout my whole career as a particle physicist of 20 years now, this theory has been there, I think the realisation that it’s actually right is quite shocking, actually; I’m quite shocked that such a strange thing has been shown to be true.