🔴 DEEP BACKGROUND

 
This section provides succinct background on issues The Blacklist has or might address, with links to scientific, cultural and/or political developments.

 = Updated (Jun 21, 2016)

For each topic, several key sources are listed first, then others in reverse chronological order.

🔴 ALEC – American Legislative and Exchange Council
🔴 Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) 
🔴 Climate Change
🔴 Corporatocracy ¤
🔴 Cryonics, The Singularity, Transhumanism
🔴 The “Deep State”
🔴 Extremism, (left, right, religious) ¤
🔴 Futuristic
🔴 Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs)
🔴 Government Secrecy
🔴 Human Rights (elections, unions, women & girls, torture) ¤
🔴 Ideologies (eg end of Cold War, post-modernism etc) ¤
🔴 Inequality, (oligarchy/plutocracy, Occupy Wall Street)
🔴 Internet Freedom, (net neutrality) ¤
🔴 Islam (including terrorism)
🔴 Media and Polarization
🔴 Medical
♤♤🔴 Recent Breakthroughs
♤♤♤♤ Obesity
♤♤♤♤ Cancer
♤♤♤♤ Aging (Longevity), see also Cryonics
♤♤🔴 Is the Medical Science of The Blacklist Believable

♤♤⭕ DNA Evidence Falsification [1:12 The Alchemist]
♤♤⭕ Dissociative Identity Disorder [ 2:1 Lord Baltimore ]
♤♤⭕ ‘Genetic Heroes’ [1:7 Frederick Barnes]
♤♤⭕ Hyperthymesia [ 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank ]
♤♤⭕ Sperm Donation [1:13 The Cyprus Agency ]
♤♤⭕ Tampons to stem bleeding [ 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank ]
♤♤⭕ Warrior Gene [ 2:4 Dr Linus Creel ] and [ 2:22 Tom Connolly ]
♤♤⭕ Pneumonic Plague [ 2:5 The Front ]
♤♤⭕ TET1 Memory Extinction Gene [ 2:10 Luther Braxton – Conclusion ]
♤♤⭕ Recovered Memory Therapy [ 2:10 Luther Braxton ]
♤♤⭕ Transgenics [ 2:17 The Longevity Initiative ]
♤♤⭕ Longevity [ 2:17 The Longevity Initiative ]
♤♤⭕ Modifying Viruses to Target Individuals [ 2:20 Karakurt ] [ 1:22 Berlin – Conclusion ]
♤♤🔴 Biological Weapons
♤♤🔴 Genomics
♤♤🔴 GMOs
♤♤🔴 Eugenics
♤♤🔴 Love Gene (Oxytocin)
🔴 Money in Politics 
🔴 Neurotoxins (includes discussion of vaccines)
🔴 Oil and Other Energy Sources
🔴 Surveillance (CIA, DHS, FBI, NSA etc)
🔴 Terrorism
🔴 Trade Agreements, (eg TPP – Trans-Pacific Partnership) ¤
🔴 Transhumanism, Cryonics, The Singularity
🔴 War Profiteering and Mercenaries
♤♤⭕ Was the Iraq War Over Oil?
🔴 Weapons, (bombs, drones, robots etc) 

¤ = in progress

 
Note: The sources cited here are reliable. (For speculative or disputed sources, check out Deep, Deep Background for what are sometimes called “conspiracy theories.”)

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻

 
alec
 

🔴 ALEC

 
PRWatch: Hot Topics at ALEC’s 2015 Meeting in San Diego | PR Watch http://bit.ly/1KLEo4s // 7/20/2015
 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) http://http://www.alec.org //➔ ALEC is a corporate-funded organization influencing policy at the state and local levels; it opposes climate change regulation and regulation in general; under public pressure, it has lost many of its corporate supporters and now represents primarily Big Oil and Big Pharma. Its ranking of states differs from about 75% of other rankings.
⇈ ⇊
The Center for Media and Democracy’s ALECExposed http://bit.ly/I3S4qv //➔ ALECExposed is ALEC’s chief antagonist; supported by donations, it publishes information on ALEC’s activities

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
ai
 

🔴 Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)

 
💙 ScienceMag (July 2015): Special Issue: Artificial Intelligence http://bit.ly/1F6VN5m

 
WaPo: The amazing artificial intelligence we were promised is coming, finally http://wapo.st/28LjCp6
// 6/17/2016

 
BBC: Intelligent Machines: The truth behind AI fiction http://bbc.in/1K6pyjE
// 9/11/2015

 
TechInsider: The real problem with artificial intelligence http://bit.ly/1Lavz2S
// 9/10/2015, the danger is autonomy

 
Observer: Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates Warn About Artificial Intelligence http://bit.ly/1VVYv1K
// 8/19/2015, “The ethical dilemma of bestowing moral responsibilities on robots calls for rigorous safety and preventative measures that are fail-safe, or the threats are too significant to risk.”
 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
FACIAL RECOGNITION
 
Fast accurate facial recognition software was long the Holy Grail of high-speed computing and artificial intelligence. But 2014 will go down as the year in which that goal of human level accuracy was achieved, not only by the United States but by China. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that A.I. is also able to discern not only who you are, but by looking into your eyes, who you are attracted to.

 
SciAm: Eye Tracking in Google Glass: A Window into the Soul? http://bit.ly/1EtoW8U
Two scientists weigh in on the privacy implications of eye-tracking technology on head-mounted smart devices
// 12/18/2014

 
GuardianLV: China’s New Facial Recognition Payment System and Privacy Implications http://bit.ly/15NLi61
// 9/11/2014

 
SciAm: Can’t Take My Eyes off You—Your Face, That Is http://bit.ly/1ycIJSX The direction of your gaze when looking at someone offers an unconscious, automatic giveaway of whether your initial reaction is romance or sex
// 9/6/2014

 
TechReview: Facebook Creates Software That Matches Faces Almost as Well as You Do http://bit.ly/1JKklze Facebook’s new AI research group reports a major improvement in face-processing software.
// 3/17/2014

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
climate
 

🔴 Climate Change

 
Link to Climate Bibliography in Academic Research http://wp.me/PDKwi-1ad
 
 
❗⋙ NYT, Justin Gillis: Study Predicts Antarctica Ice Melt if All Fossil Fuels Are Burned http://nyti.ms/1J69WuF
// 9/11/2015, “… [I]f the use of fossil fuels were to continue rising at the same rate it rose over the past century, the estimated deposits would be burned by about the middle of the 22nd century, Dr. Caldeira said, and complete destruction of the world’s land ice would be well underway”
 
❗ NewYorker, Elizabeth Kolbert: A New Climate-Change Danger Zone? http://nyr.kr/1F7pJOy
// 6/23/2015 Review and commentary on Sea-Rise paper by Hansen et al*, cited below
↥ ↧
❗💙 *ACP, James Hansen et al: Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling and Modern Observations that [ the current goal of ] ✛2℃ Global Temperature Rise is Highly Dangerous [pdf] http://bit.ly/1Ls0HGW 121p
// 7/23/2015, ACP = Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 

💙💙 US Natl Academy of Scientists & UK Royal Society: Climate Change Evidence and Causes http://bit.ly/1Ch9Z94 36p
// 2/27/2014
image

 
💙💙 PWC: Two Degrees of Separation: Ambition & Reality http://pwc.to/1msm3hf we will miss goal of stopping climate change at +2C°, are heading for +4C°: Politics, not science, has failed us
// Sep 2014, Price/Waterhouse/Coopers
image

 
RollingStone: The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here http://rol.st/1KjIyi6
// 8/5/2015

 
NYT Review (11/6/2014): Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything http://nyti.ms/1qnWXSq “a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable”
// 11/6/2014

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⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
The Evidence: [ Updated 9/14/2015 ]

 
http://youtu.be/EoOrtvYTKeE
Above: 16-second video.

 
1. NASA: Changes in the Carbon Cycle http://1.usa.gov/1piVISm
// (undated) “Variations in Earth’s orbit alter the amount of energy Earth receives from the Sun and leads to a cycle of ice ages and warm periods like Earth’s current climate”
● NASA: Changes in the Carbon Cycle http://1.usa.gov/1piVISm Correlation between CO₂ levels & Antarctic Temperatures http://pic.twitter.com/MHk5y806Sq
● NASA: Changes in the Carbon Cycle http://1.usa.gov/1piVISm Human contribution to CO₂ levels since 1800s http://pic.twitter.com/0Zd9bv92va

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

In terms of the science itself, the best articles I came across looked extended periods of time. One of these looked at the last 1000 years, the other at the last 800,000 years. [ See double chart; click to enlarge ] You can easily see the problem.
 
The 1000-year data finds exactly the same curve using three entirely different types of data collection: atmospheric, sea sediment and ice cores. It shows that we entered the 20th Century in what was a cooling trend, but have reversed that direction with a sudden and relentless projection toward a sudden and terrifying increase in CO₂ levels to levels not seen in millions of years. PriceWaterhouseCoopers (the accounting firm) says we have already shot past the ✛2℃ scenario aimed at by the 2009 Copenhagen Accord heading toward ✛4℃ – if we can even stop it there http://bit.ly/1r8NBto. The depiction of what the world will look like if this happens – and it appears almost inevitable – has been outlined in the most recent IPCC report and its U.S. companion (see “Additional Reading”). Below are links to the two studies I found most convincing:

1. RealClimate (2013): Paleoclimate: The End of the Holocene http://bit.ly/1t3kQw0
// “Just looking at the known drivers (climate forcings) and the actual temperature history shows it directly, without need for a climate model: without the increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans, the slow cooling trend would have continued. Thus virtually the entire warming of the 20th Century is due to man. This May, for the first time in at least a million years, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has exceeded the threshold of 400 ppm. If we do not stop this trend very soon, we will not recognize our Earth by the end of this century.”

● RealClimate (2013): Paleoclimate: The End of the Holocene http://bit.ly/1t3kQw0 3 climate studies corroborating the “hockey stick” curve

● RealClimate (2013): Paleoclimate: The End of the Holocene http://bit.ly/1t3kQw0 Shaun Marcott et al http://pic.twitter.com/zKbG9GTSFC

● RealClimate (2013): “Rapid temp rise in 20th C is unique throughout the Holocene” http://bit.ly/1t3kQw0 by 3 methods http://pic.twitter.com/9wKs1ZvE3V

● RealClimate (2013): Paleoclimate: End of Ice Age Projected Through End of 21st C http://bit.ly/1t3kQw0 omg http://pic.twitter.com/IHp5twEDxZ

 
2. NCA2014: 800,000 Year Record of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Concentrations (& Projection) http://1.usa.gov/1pW8TIr http://pic.twitter.com/fzadjBPBbR
⋙ from US National Climate Assessment 2013 http://1.usa.gov/1kNo8hQ Overview: http://bit.ly/1oVZLVn
// Chart caption: “Carbon dioxide concentration (parts per million) for the last 800,000 years, measured from trapped bubbles of air in an Antarctic ice core. The 2008 observed value is from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and projections are based upon future emission scenarios. More information on the data can be found in the Climate Change Impacts on the U.S. report.”

 

Climate: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Climate: Be afraid. Be very afraid.


[ Note: portions of this text are taken from the climate change section of the article “What is the Cabal?” also on this site: http://wp.me/pDKwi-T6 ]

 
Major Reports
 
≣ IPCC Climate Change Report 2013: Summary for Policy Makers [pdf] http://bit.ly/1jPd6wS (28 pages) // (2013)
⇈ ⇊
≣ IPCC: #Climate Change 2014: Summary For Policy Makers: Mitigation http://mitigation2014.org
 
≣ USNCA: Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2014: Highlights http://bit.ly/1kLoPbi
// 5/6/2014 US National Climate Assessment
⇈ ⇊
≣ USNCA: Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2014: Full Report http://1.usa.gov/1kNo8hQ
⇈ ⇊
≣ USNCA: Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2014: Appendix 3: Climate Science Supplement http://bit.ly/1mK57CL

 
Books

imageAnielski, Mark: The Economics of Happiness – Building Genuine Wealth (2007) http://bit.ly/1cNP7eQ (Amazon: http://amzn.to/1S7PqRG)

 
NYT (6/18/2015): Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change http://nyti.ms/1GSgrVr
↥ ↧
Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father Francis (6/18/2015): ‘Laudato Si’ on Care of Our Common Home [pdf] http://bit.ly/1SrvUQe pp 184 #Climate

 
Hansen, James: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity (2010) http://bit.ly/1TdYO7E (Amazon: http://amzn.to/1KZEVM2)

 
Klein, Naomi: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014) (Amazon http://amzn.to/1dFeD6O)
NYT Review, Rob Nixon (11/6/2014): “a book of such ambition and consequence that it is almost unreviewable” http://nyti.ms/1INAdkr

 
Kolbert, Elizabeth: The Sixth Extinction – An Unnatural History (2014) (Amazon: http://amzn.to/1IxgKnX)
NYT Review, Al Gore (2/10/2014): Without A Trace http://nyti.ms/1e5YzMe
// was selected as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014

 
Sachs, Jeffrey D: The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) http://bit.ly/1IJWkem (Amazon: http://amzn.to/1GvXd7U)
// foreword by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
nwo
 

🔴 Corporatocracy / Globalism / “New World Order”

 
Consortium News: How Propaganda Conquers Democracy http://bit.ly/1zdv4Rn
// 1/15/2015, inverted totalitarianism
● In Democracy Incorporated; Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, political scientist Sheldon Wolin examined how America’s “managed democracy” has devolved into “inverted totalitarianism,” concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a small ruling class more efficiently and sustainably than 20th Century “classical totalitarianism” ever succeeded in doing.

● “Instead of sweeping away the structures of constitutional government like the Fascists, Nazis or Soviets, this “political coming-of-age of corporate power” has more cleverly preserved and co-opted nominally democratic institutions and adapted them to its own purposes.

● “Self-serving politicians and parties compete for funding in election campaigns run by the advertising industry, to give political investors the most corrupt President, administration and Congress that money can buy, while courts uphold new corporate and plutocratic political rights to ward off challenges to the closed circle of wealth and political power.”

 
ForeignAffairs, Richard Barnes and John Cavanaugh: Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order http://fam.ag/1yZXQBG
// 1994

adding: Suppression of new technologies (home-generated power)

⋙ See: Inequality: Stock buy-backs
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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
cryonics

 

🔴 Cryonics, The Singularity, Transhumanism

Cryonics is the preservation of the brain (and, in fact any other living material) by freezing (at very low temperatures) in the hope of revival in the future. Currently, sperm, eggs, and zygotes/embryos, organs, and plant and seed specimens are kept in this way. Head transplantation may be feasible http://on.thestar.com/1M74bzy.

Transhumanism is the idea that computers will be developed that will be able to replicate the workings of the brain and is once possible way a person might be revived. A key thinker in this field is Ray Kurzweil. He has predicted that 2045 (or thereabouts) will be the year The Singularity will be reaching: the merger of mind and machine. He describes these ideas in his books, including The Age of Spiritual Machines (2000) and The Singularity is Near (2006).

A collection of seeds is currently kept in an archive in the artic to replenish the earth should there be a great natural or human-made disaster. In fact, this archive was used for the first time to restock a seed collection wiped out as the result of warfare .(see WIRED article below). Might it be possible to restore the human race if disaster struck, by preserving the most intelligent or physically fit specimens? Or might evil actors do this intentionally, supplanting current populations with their own “chosen” individuals or populations?

 
Cryonics Institute http://www.cryonics.org

 
⋙ NYT: A Dying Young Woman’s: Hope in Cryonics and a Future http://nyti.ms/1XJassI
// 9/12/2015, “Cancer claimed Kim Suozzi at age 23, but she chose to have her brain
preserved with the dream that neuroscience might one day revive her mind.”

● “They knew how strange it sounded, the hope that Kim’s brain could be preserved in subzero storage so that decades or centuries from now, if science advanced, her billions of interconnected neurons could be scanned, analyzed and converted into computer code that mimicked how they once worked.”

● “But Kim’s terminal prognosis came at the start of a global push to understand the brain. And some of the tools and techniques emerging from neuroscience laboratories were beginning to bear some resemblance to those long envisioned in futurist fantasies.”

● “‘I can see within, say, 40 years that we would have a method to generate a digital replica of a person’s mind,” said Winfried Denk, a director at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Germany, who has invented one of several mapping techniques. ‘It’s not my primary motivation, but it is a logical outgrowth of our work.'”

● “Other neuroscientists do not take that idea seriously, given the great gaps in knowledge about the workings of the brain. ‘We are nowhere close to brain emulation given our current level of understanding,’ said Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University in New York and one of the architects of the Obama administration’s initiative seeking a $4.5 billion investment in brain research over the next decade.”

● “They first discussed the possibility of achieving a kind of immortality because of a book assigned for Kim’s cognitive science class — ‘The Age of Spiritual Machines’ by the artificial intelligence researcher Ray Kurzweil.”

● “Mr. Kurzweil and others who call themselves transhumanists have argued that exponential increases in computing power will generate an assortment of new technologies that will enable us to transcend our bodies and upload our minds onto a computer. He envisions an inflection point that some call the ‘Singularity,’ a singular moment when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence.”

 
KurzweilAI, Dan Goétzel: We could get to the singularity in ten years http://bit.ly/1M71lul
// 12/26/2014

 
TorontoStar [CAN]: Yes, a human head transplant is possible, but… http://on.thestar.com/1M74bzy
// 10/1/015

 
WIRED: That Arctic Seed Vault Isn’t Just There for a Doomsday http://wrd.cm/1Oia7eX
// 9/25/2015, (discusses use of vault to bolster seed sticks imperiled by Syrian war)

 
Wikipedia: Cryonics; Transhumanism; The Singularity
 

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deep state
 

🔴 The “Deep State”

 
I only recently discovered this exposé which seems to me to be about as close as it is possible to come to an “Alliance”-like underbelly of American power akin to that once coordinated by the late Alan Fitch. It is definitely worth a read – or there’s the video as well. The Blacklist may not be as much fantasy as reality, a strange new reality of power not so much national as international, dominated by multinational corporate conglomerates whose loyalty is not to the public, but to shareholders – and themselves I highly recommend this. It is as frightening as it rings true.

 
Moyers&Co, Mike Lofgren: Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State http://bit.ly/1BBiY29
// 2/21/2014, “Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day…. [T]he American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.”

“The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council…. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries.”

“As the indemnification vote showed, the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called ‘private enterprise” is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in The Washington Post called ‘Top Secret America,’ http://wapo.st/1zc68bl Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks.”

“[M]ost of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to ‘stay the course’ in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense…. [T]hey almost invariably believe in the ‘Washington Consensus’: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor.”

 
Moyers&Co: Full Show: The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight http://bit.ly/1yStbat Moyers interviews Mike Lofgren
// 2/21/2014

 
Moyers&Co: Reactions to Mike Lofgren’s Essay on the Deep State http://bit.ly/161VbOg
// 2/21/2014

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extremism
 

🔴 Extremism

 
image

 
Adding:
● Left: Climate extremism … See 🔴 Climate
● Right: Neo-Nazi, white supremacy, “Tenthers” (extreme states’ rights), secessionist
● Religious: American Family Association

Note: I am not including Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party. These are populist movements, not extremist movements.

 
CommonDreams, Sara Robinson: Fascist America: Are We There Yet? http://bit.ly/1DbLhEa
// 2009, includes Robert Paxton’s 1998 definition of fascism

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
futurism
 

🔴 Futuristic

 
⋙ io9.com ⋘ is a daily publication that covers science, culture, and the world of tomorrow.

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
gmos
 

🔴 Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs)

 
The dangers here are not so much in the foods themselves, but from their impacts on ecosystems and economies. They must be prevented from cross breeding with natural populations, as they can take over, destroying plant diversity. “Nature finds a way” (per Jurassic Park) to outsmart many advantages. For instance, a plant modified to resist a certain predator may lose its edge after a few generations, as the predator adapts. The scientists are at times just a season ahead. Farmers become dependent on the producer and must continue to purchase year after year to stay ahead. GMOs often require, in addition, very specific regimens of fertilizers and supplements which, in developing countries, can become very expensive. The terms the farmers must accept typically preventing from using their harvest are seed stock.

 
WebMD: The Truth About GMOs http://bit.ly/1Cgs9YK
// “The World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all say these crops are at least as safe as, and often safer than, foods changed the old-fashioned way, such as when a new plant is bred from two different types”

 
“Those in favor of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) count these among their top selling points:

  • More food: These plants can help farmers boost their yield by making crops that can live through a drought or the cold and resist disease. Backers say GM products will help us feed the extra 2 billion people that will fill the planet by 2050. “Not using these tools would push us back 40 to 50 years in food production,” says Kent Bradford, PhD, distinguished professor of plant sciences and director of the Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California, Davis.
  • Less stress on the environment: Supporters say using science to make the changes is better for the planet than older farming methods. Crops built to resist pests lower farmers’ need for toxic chemical pesticides, Goldstein says. They also require less soil to be tilled, reduce runoff, and keep the soil in place.
  • Better products: Scientists can create crops that contain vital nutrients. Swiss researchers created a strain of “golden” rice with high amounts of beta-carotene. Monsanto produced soybeans with lots of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Other crops, like papaya and cassava, can be made to withstand disease. “Naturally occurring molds (if we don’t prevent them by creating GM crops) present huge health hazards,” Bradford says. “Why reject a technology that has the potential to benefit so many people worldwide?”

 
❗BostonGlobe: Harvard, Yale scientists develop technique to make GMOs safer http://bit.ly/1LjcnyW
// 1/22/2015, “Two teams of scientists from Harvard and Yale have reached a crucial milestone in the effort to build synthetic life forms by developing a powerful way to prevent genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from escaping into the wild.
“The new technique essentially inserts a built-in self-destruct mechanism into bacteria. The cells carry an alternative genetic code that makes them dependent on an artificial nutrient that is not found in nature.”

 
Grist: ‘Bitter Seeds’ documentary reveals tragic toll of GMOs in India http://bit.ly/1BqNI5L
// 2012, “…what the famers didn’t know until it was too late is those seeds require an expensive regimen of pesticides, and must be fertilized and watered according to precise timetables. And since these farmers lack irrigation systems, and must instead depend on not-always-predictable rainfall, it’s incredibly difficult to control the success or failure of any year’s crop”
“Piece by piece, Bitter Seeds lays out the bleak situation in India, using interviews with all players, from condescending seed sales reps and callous Monsanto execs, to activist Vandana Shiva, to farmers, their families, and village old-timers who remember when life as an Indian cotton farmer was not so bitter.”

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
secrecy
 

🔴 Government Secrecy 

 
Remember this from 2:21 Karakurt?

 
Andropov: [ Handing out leaflets ] It’s time to bring NSA surveillance state to an end. FISA courts are a rubber stamp to trample on your Fourth Amendment right to privacy.
[ Student bumps into him, ]
Student: Sorry. You all right?
Andropov: Oh. No, no, no. My fault.
[ Chuckles, clears throat ] [ Indistinct conversations ]
Andropov: “Kill The Patriot Act.”
Student: It’s never gonna happen. The best we can hope for is–
Andropov: Fix Section 2-1-5. I know. Hyperbole piques their interest, then you go in for the kill.
Student: We could use more petitions like this.
Andropov: Oh, [Chuckles] thank you. Your involvement means more than you know.
[ Ticking ] [ Distortion ] [ Student walks away, collapses. Echoing thuds ]
Andropov: [ On phone ] Yes. We’ve achieved customization. Initiate Phase 2.
emphasis added

Update: Section 2-1-5 (or just 215) was “fixed.” The NSA may no longer collect metadata on the phone calls of all Americans. Instead, the phone companies will archive this information and provide it to the NSA if a warrant is presented. Additional new information is above the “⊰ ♤ ⊱”
 
LATimes: The NSA will stop collecting U.S. phone data. Now what? http://lat.ms/1iosvVZ
// 6/3/2015
● “The NSA will continue to collect and store records from Americans’ phone calls for six months”
● “Record storage will shift to the phone companies in November and NSA will need a court order to search them”
● “The NSA will not delete its archive of metadata”

 
USNews: State Legislatures Call for Overhaul of Federal Drug Laws http://bit.ly/1Mli8Ph
// 8/6/2015, National Conference of State Legislatures

 
[ And, in an added bonus: ]
CommonDreams: Congress Votes to End DEA’s Invasive Bulk Data Collection Program and Slashes Agency’s Budget
// 6/3/2015

 
NORML: President Signs Federal Spending Bill Protecting State Sanctioned Medical Marijuana Programs http://bit.ly/1LbbJo8
// 12/16/2014

 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
● MotherJones (2012): The Pentagon’s New Generation of Secret Military Bases http://bit.ly/1AVn8QH

 
● PBSFrontline (May 2014): The United States of Secrets http://to.pbs.org/1s8lBSI // May 13 & 20

 
● Senate Select Committee On Intelligence (Dec 2014): Committee Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program [pdf] http://1.usa.gov/1zIo37I 525p 💥

 
● In 2010, the Washington Post ran a large collection of stories on “Top Secret America” http://wapo.st/12xKh0b

 
● WaPo (2013): Confidential report lists US weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies http://wapo.st/13tPdnv

 
⋙ DOD Defense Science Board: Resilient Military Systems & the Advanced Cyber Attack [pdf] http://1.usa.gov/13T5WBo 146p

 
● TIME(2010): Top 10 Weird Government Secrets: (historical)

Churchill and UFOs
CIA Mind-Control Experiments
Area 51
UFOs in the USSR
The Loch Ness Monster
The CIA Schemes to Kill Castro — with a Seashell
Julia Child’s Intelligence
Grand Central Terminal’s Secret Rooms
Listening In on Lennon
Potemkin Villages

 
PROJECTS AND SITES:

 
● MKUltra, Project (1951-1973) http://bit.ly/1x0ewIn government mind control programs

 
● Raven Rock Mountain Complex (1951- ) http://bit.ly/1sNQcFy “Underground Pentagon” at Camp David; also known as “Site-R”

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
rights
 

🔴 Human Rights

 
(elections, labor/unions, women and girls, torture, prisons)
 

༺ ♤ ༻

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights


(Title is clickable)
 
⊰ Everyone should take the time to read this ⊱
 

༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
image
September 2015

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 

TheAtlantic: Are Unions Necessary? http://theatln.tc/1LclJMC
// 6/11/2012, chart: middle class wages vs union membership
 
image

 

༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
ideologies
 

🔴 Ideologies

 
A Brief History of Now

The year 2014 marked both the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War and the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War. It also marked the exit of most American military personnel from Afghanistan and the RE-entry of American military into Iraq. The expansionary ideologies of the 20th Century – communism, fascism, nationalism – have receded to be replaced by terrorism, anti-colonialism, globalization and, in the West, postmodernism.

The Middle East is a powder keg, as the brief hope of an “Arab Spring” succumbed to a remix of military regimes and religious states, including ISIS (or IS or the Caliphate) in parts of Iraq and Syria. The conflict between theocracy in these states and the legacy of the Enlightenment in the West is likely to last a generation – or more.

Russia has become a political kleptocracy, fueled by Siberian oil, where President (for life?) Putin sits atop a huge PR apparatus and longs to reunite all ethnic Russians under a Greater Russia. It would be funny if not for all thenuclear weapons.

China (and to a lesser extent Russia and some Middle Eastern states) practice a form of capitalism called state capitalism in which government subsidies favor companies the communist party approves (“crony capitalism.”). China has been a driver of global growth for the last 20 years and the beneficiary of huge numbers of jobs which used to be distributed among the “first world” countries (the Eurozone and the United States),

India, now the world’s most populous country, is very diverse with pockets of technological progress (like Bangalore), but lacks a solid infrastructure and is still afflicted by the vestiges of a caste system.

Sub-Saharan Africa is finally coming “on-line,” parts being transformed through a new agricultural miracle, though at the cost of local communities and habitats. Ethnic and religious rivalries are apt to explode into frenzies of unspeakable violence at any moment.

At the same time, poverty, illiteracy rates, the spread of malaria and AIDS (Ebola aside) and population growth have been reversed or at least slowed, with the next decade looking better for many of the world’s most marginalized people, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man:

 
● WIRED: Interview: Bill Gates on His 15-Year Plan, Capitalism’s Downside, and Measles at Disneyland http://wrd.cm/1yrtwMo

 
TNR, Mark Lilla: The Truth About Our Libertarian Age – Why the dogma of democracy doesn’t always make the world better http://bit.ly/1sXX2gn
// 6/17/2014, in this remarkable tour de force, Mark Lilla traces the paths of left wing and right wing ideologies in the 20th century, leading up to the West’s current murky age of postmodernism, anti colonialism, and globalization; reflections focus on changes since the end of the Cold War

 

༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
Mark Lilla, writing in The New Republic, laments the eclipse of Americans’ understanding of the world around us:

In truth, we have not thought nearly enough about the end of the cold war, and especially the intellectual vacuum that it left behind. If nothing else, the cold war focused the mind. The ideologies in conflict, whose lineages could be traced back two centuries, offered clear opposing views of political reality. Now that they are gone, one would expect things to be much clearer to us, but just the opposite seems true. Never since the end of World War II, and perhaps since the Russian Revolution, has political thinking in the West been so shallow and clueless. We all sense that ominous changes are taking place in our societies, and in other societies whose destinies will very much shape our own. Yet we lack adequate concepts or even a vocabulary for describing the world we find ourselves in. The connection between words and things has snapped. The end of ideology has not meant the lifting of clouds. It has brought a fog so thick that we can no longer read what is right before us. We find ourselves in an illegible age. [emphasis added]

TheNewRepublic: The Truth About Our Libertarian Age http://bit.ly/1sXX2gn
// 6/17/2014

Adding:
● Inverted Totalitarianism
● Nationalism (extreme) //➔ including: anti-immigrant movements
● Anti-Colonialism and Postmodernism

In this section;
⋙ see also: Capitalism [under Inequality, Money in Politics, State Capitalism]
⋙ see also: State Capitalism
⋙ see also: Islam

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
inequality
 

🔴 Inequality

 
Occupy Wall Street – It may seem like Occupy Wall Street had its day and then disappeared. Except that it didn’t: the movement brought knowledge of the growing inequality in America to light for the first time. Major themes were adopted by the Democratic Party, perhaps cost Mitt Romney the 2012 election and looks to figure in the 2016 election as well. In addition, the movement unveiled moneyed “movers and shakers” behind our elections, including The Koch Brothers (including Americans for Prosperity), Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove’s GPS, and, on the left, Climate advocate Tom Steyer.

The impact of Citizens United and other rulings by the Supreme Court that undermine campaign finance laws cannot be over-stated. Regulatory decisions have also had an impact. Although the supposed harassment of conservative groups by the IRS was never established (liberal groups were “harassed” as well in equal proportion), the result of the Congressional hearings has been to undermine the IRS’ ability to deny tax-exempt to any political group asserting their right to it.

Banking regulations have also played a role. According to Harvard economist William Lazonick, the pivot point for rising equality can be directly traced to one particular change made during the Reagan administration:

 
● Dkos, Auriandra: The Inequality “Smoking Gun” http://bit.ly/1EtH7IE
// 9/7/2017, “In 1970, Milton Friedman penned an article for The New York Times Magazine. Steve Denning at Forbes identifies this article as the pivot point for the split between two schools of economics that Lazonick describes as “retain & reinvest” and “downsize & distribute.” The latter came to be known as “Maximizing Shareholder Value” (MSV) or “The Chicago School.” [ Note: “Auriandra” is the name I use to blog about policy and politics – LizzieB90 ]

image

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● “We tend to think of what went wrong in the last 30 years as characterized by increasing inequality, the demise of unions, the eclipse of a livable minimum wage, etc, but Lazonick claims these are simply the results of MSV Economics as companies (and their captive legislators) pulled out all the stops in the service of ‘maximizing shareholder value.’ In particular, Lazonick identifies one specific regulation that has had an outsized effect: Rule 10b-18 of the SEC Act.”

● Rule 10b-18 legalized stock market manipulation…. [It] has facilitated a rigged stock market that, by permitting the massive distribution of corporate cash [directly] to shareholders, has undermined capital formation, including human capital formation…. It has enabled the wealthiest 0.1% of society, including top executives, to capture the lion’s share of the gains of U.S. productivity growth while the vast majority of Americans have been left behind. – William Lazonick

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༺ ♤ ༻
 
⭕ Additional Articles

 
● MotherJones: The Head of the IMF Says Inequality Threatens Democracy. Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right http://bit.ly/1zr1ec5
// 5/28/2014

 
● OpenSecrets: A Maze of Money: Koch Brothers’ Campaign Finance Network (chart) http://bit.ly/1z6W5Tl
// 2012

 
● MotherJones: It’s the Inequality, Stupid http://bit.ly/IGXmZN (great charts!)
// Mar/Apr 2011

 
● NewYorker exposé, Jane Mayer: Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama http://nyr.kr/1wzhqAp
// 8/30/2010

 
● International Monetary Fund: Report: MotherJones: The Head of the IMF Says Inequality Threatens Democracy Here Are 7 Charts Proving She’s Right http://bit.ly/1zr1ec5
// 5/28/2014

 
Citibank’s “Plutonomy” Report: Citibank has been remarkably successful in erasing its “Plutonomy” from the Internet. But never fear, Daily Kos did a nice synopsis in 2010: http://bit.ly/1mchQJD

 
“The Rich ARE Different from You and Me” (poll): Another great “find” was this poll comparing the beliefs of the 1% with the 99%. The differences are interesting – and shocking http://bit.ly/1mNo7vr
// 5/29/2014: The Rich ARE Different From You & Me: Poll http://bit.ly/1mNo7vr
Dkos: Someone finally polled the 1% http://bit.ly/1BmrMZl
Poll dated (Jun 2014): “The poll results for this comparison came from the Russell Sage Foundation. ‘Elites’ are defined as at or near ‘the 1%’ in wealth with an average income of $1M/yr or more. The perspectives of this group are compared to responses from other polls such as Pew and Gallup.”

 

Someone finally polled the 1% ⋙ and it’s not pretty

 
Most polls group together anyone making more than $100K a year. This one was different.
 
image
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image
image

 
Stock Buybacks – We know that more and more of US wealth is going to the top 1%, in large part due to the stock market. Less well known is how this is happening. An article by William Lazonick in the Sep 2014 Harvard Review of Business (Profits Without Prosperity http://bit.ly/1D3WAOf) placed much of the blame on stock buybacks, in which a company uses its profits to buy back its own stock, driving up the stock price, as opposed to increasing wages or investing in improving its business:

[T]he 449 companies in the S&P 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 through 2012 from 2003 through 2012 used 54% of their earnings—a total of $2.4 trillion—to buy back their own stock, almost all through purchases on the open market. Dividends absorbed an additional 37% of their earnings. That left very little for investments in productive capabilities or higher incomes for employees.

With the decrease in union representation, workers have had little bargaining power to counteract this trend. In fact, middle class wage stagnation began in the mid 1980s when the Reagan administration loosened the buyback rules.

 
Thomas Piketty – The French economist burst onto the scene in 2014 with the publication of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century http://amzn.to/1D5s7j5. The thoroughness of Piketty’s on-going project has been widely hailed. The take-away: the decades from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s – when the Great Americam Middle Class was born and thrived – were an historical anomaly, resulting from the disastrous effects of World War II in which the world lay in ruins, wealth was scattered, and the only powerful country with an intact industrial base was the United States. Throughout history, excluding such calamities, the natural tendency (actually a ‘rule’) is for more wealth to go to the wealthy over time. In other words, the “free market” alone will not assure an optimal distribution of wealth. Only a progressive tax policy can do that.

 
● TheNewYorker, John Cassidy: Piketty’s Inequality Story in Six Charts http://nyr.kr/1yujsST
// 3/26/2014

 
image

 
The Tea Party – Like Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party formed in response to the housing-driven financial crash and Great Recession, but took a rightward turn (blaming “slackers” who purchased mortgages they could not afford), whereas OWS blamed the banks (for duping homeowners into buying mortgages they could not afford). Like much in American politics, these represent two sides of the same coin: urban/diverse/liberal versus rural/white/conservative, with the suburbs up for grabs.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
internet
 

🔴 Internet Freedom (net neutrality)

 
[ Update: Despite intense lobbying by communications firms, the combined power of consumers, content creators and, most importantly, Silicon Valley, led to President Obama coming out in favor of net neutrality. The FCC going with a proposal to run the Internet like a utility, much to the surprise of many. However, how the regulations are written remains to be seen. Updates above the “⊰ ♤ ⊱” ]

 
NYT: Obama Asks F.C.C. to Adopt Tough Net Neutrality Rules [ video ] http://nyti.ms/1OoyfuQ
// 11/10/2014

 
WhiteHouse[.]gov: President Obama’s Plan for a Free and Open Internet http://1.usa.gov/1Lb5cdi
// 11/10/2014

● “This is net neutrality:
“More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

● “Good things happen when people stand up.
“The FCC just voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the Internet open and free. That happened because millions of Americans across the country didn’t just care about this issue: You stood up and made your voices heard, whether by adding your names to petitions, submitting public comments, or talking with the people you know about why this matters. Read a special thank-you message from the President, then learn more about how we got to where we are today.”

 
Engadget, Davindra Hardawar: Here’s how far we’ve come with net neutrality http://engt.co/1K8JGUn
// 2/26/2015, ● The FCC’s ruling on net neutrality yesterday was the agency’s most significant action in decades — but it didn’t come easy. It’s something that’s been discussed ever since Columbia Law professor Tim Wu coined the term net neutrality 2003, which, at its most basic level, refers to treating all web traffic equally. But the idea goes back to the age of the telegram, when the US government committed to treating all of those messages the same. As broadband access became more commonplace and the internet economy recovered from the dot-com bust of the ’90s, Wu’s net neutrality paper was a warning against the increasing power of ISPs. Now that we finally have a decent set of net neutrality rules, it’s worth taking a look back to see how we got here. … ” Timeline follows.

● “Net Neutrality, especially the switch to Title II, is a result of grassroots activism, not a regulator’s power grab. … [A]n extraordinary coalition of public interest groups, private companies, investors, not to mention four million Internet users, spoke up to demand meaningful net neutrality.”

● “We’ve explained, though, that the new rules aren’t perfect, and that the “General Conduct Rule” in particular presents an opportunity for abuse.” [ See links ]

 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
💙💙 ACLU: What Is Net Neutrality? The ACLU Answers the Key Questions [Q&A, videos] http://bit.ly/1yzO1GY ⋙ best resource ⋘

 
● TIME: Websites Plan ‘Internet Countdown’ to Defend Net Neutrality http://ti.me/15NRlY6
// 1/27/2015

 
● Moyers&Co: Not So Fast, Net Neutrality… http://bit.ly/1zYIhgE
// 1/26/2015, “No doubt those more than four million public comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission in support of Net neutrality went a long way toward convincing Obama and Wheeler that the American people have made up their minds. Chairman Wheeler intends to circulate a new plan to fellow FCC commissioners on February 5 with a vote scheduled for February 26.”
“Together, the ISP companies and Congress have come up with a plan to legislatively derail Net neutrality that would bring a smile to the lips of Machiavelli.”

 
● WIRED, Amb. Daniel Sepulveda: The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right http://wrd.cm/1yNVrLt
// 1/21/2015
“Does the United States act in accordance with the same principles that we advocate for others? The answer needs to be yes.” “…the world watches what we do at home”

 
● NYT: Shifting Politics of Net Neutrality Debate Ahead of FCC Vote http://nyti.ms/1zcQx9P
// 1/19/2015, “This time, the fight might be even more palpable to consumers. Companies like Netflix say they need protection against behemoths like Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, which could use their power over cable and fiber-optic lines to slow consumer access to websites that offer competing content or fail to pay for fast service.”

 
● TheVerge: Republicans want a net neutrality law, but only if it stops the FCC from handling it http://bit.ly/1EPV3Nk
// 1/16/2015

 
● WhiteHouse[.]com: Net Neutrality: President Obama’s Plan for a Free and Open Internet http://1.usa.gov/1uA4jiH
// undated

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
media
 

🔴 Media and Polarization

 
The increasing polarization in the US in the last 20 years can be attributed in part to the fracturing of news media by political ideology, as well as – well, just “fracturing” – as traditional print news sources must now compete with cable news and blogs and other influences on the Web. Fox News began this shift in 1996, and msnbc turned decidedly leftward in 2010 with its “Lean Forward” campaign. This charts from Public Opinion Strategies shows the changes in polarization since 1982 http://bit.ly/1wzHueD:

 
image

In the early years, most of the change was driven by Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in which “Southern Democrats” (who had always been more conservative that Northern Democrats) left the Democratic Party and became Republicans.

But, as for the degree of ideological change, a distinct uptick began in the 1990s (certainly in response to Bill Clinton’s Presidency) but also likely driven by the emergence of a rightwing press alongside the moderate-but-left-of-center “mainstream media” which had embodied the news business up to the dawn of the cable & internet age.

Changes in ideology can also be measured by examining roll call votes. This is a chart showing voting patterns in the House of Representatives:

 
image

Still, in terms of actual issues, the American population tends to be more in agreement with each other than are citizens in many European countries. Unfortunately, this often goes unnoticed, as the polarized media draws Americans in either direction, obscuring the fact that corporate-funded lobbyists (often representing little beyond their own profitability) have an ever-increasing influence in Washington DC. These forces are often to the right even of most GOP voters.

With regard to international issues, Americans are woefully illiterate, as this headline from the UK’s Telegraph indicates:

TheTelegraph [UK]: Americans surveyed: misunderstood, misrepresented or ignorant? http://bit.ly/1z0AbTf survey of several polls
// 2/15/2014

The bright side? At least Americans’ views on international matters have not yet hardened along sectarian lines.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
medical
 

🔴 Medical Research

 
recent
 

🔴 RECENT BREAKTHROUGHS

 
[ Update: ] “Cures” in Sight for Obesity, Cancer and Aging? –

 
💙 ScienceNews: Gene thought to cause obesity works indirectly http://bit.ly/1KEHguf
// 8/19/2015

 
💙 ScienceDaily: Discovery of new code makes reprogramming of cancer cells possible http://bit.ly/1PRJbQq Mayo Clinic/NIH research
// 8/24/2015

 
💙 ScienceNews (Dec 2014): Young blood aids old brains http://bit.ly/1Ehzmdj Studies in mice offer hope for alleviating aging

 

༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 

🔴 Are the medical claims of The Blacklist believable?

♤♤⭕ Genetic Heroes [1:7 Frederick Barnes]
♤♤⭕ DNA Evidence Falsification [1:12 The Alchemist]
♤♤⭕ Sperm Donation [1:13 The Cyprus Agency ]
♤♤⭕ Dissociative Identity Disorder [ 2:1 Lord Baltimore ]
♤♤⭕ Hyperthymesia [ 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank ]
♤♤⭕ Tampons to stem bleeding [ 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank ]
♤♤⭕ Warrior Gene [ 2:4 Dr Linus Creel ] and [ 2:22 Tom Connolly ]
♤♤⭕ Pneumonic Plague [ 2:5 The Front ]
♤♤⭕ TET1 Memory Extinction Gene [ 2:10 Luther Braxton – Conclusion ]

♤♤⭕ Recovered Memory Therapy [ 2:10 Luther Braxton ]
♤♤⭕ Transgenics [ 2:17 The Longevity Initiative ]
♤♤⭕ Longevity Research [ 2:17 The Longevity Initiative ]
♤♤⭕ Modifying Viruses to Target Individuals [ 2:20 Karakurt ] [ 1:22 Berlin – Conclusion ]

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
heroes
 

⭕ “Genetic Heroes”

From 1:7 Frederick Barnes

Liz: You were right about Barnes. They weren’t just attacks. They were experiments. He was searching for someone with a natural immunity for Kurz disease.
Meera: You mean like Elisa Rubin?
Liz: That’s why she survived the attack. Her test results just came back. She has zero sign of infection.
Meera: So, he’s going to use this genetic immunity to synthesize an antidote, then, if Barnes believes he has the cure –
Liz: He’s going for the boy. …

ScientificAmerican (5/30/2014): ‘Genetic Heroes’ May Be Key to Treating Debilitating Diseases http://bit.ly/1Ybu1Ln

● “The Resilience Project seeks to find people who are unaffected by genetic mutations that would normally cause severe and fatal disorders”

● “Some people who have a fateful mutation … live healthy lives without any apparent symptoms of illness. These rare individuals are the focus of The Resilience Project, a new initiative that aims to identify people unaffected by their problematic genes and figure out how they have avoided their dismal destinies. The hope is that by studying these people, researchers can find new approaches for treating these genetic diseases.”

● “The new initiative seeks to enroll one million people over the age of 40 to search for such ‘unexpected heroes,’ as project leaders call them. Those who enroll will receive a DNA kit, much like those that companies such as 23andMe use …. The Resilience Project is looking specifically at 162 genes that can cause what Friend and Schadt refer to as ‘catastrophic’ diseases.

● The researchers “expect that about one in 15,000 people are living healthy lives with mutations that should cause severe illness. That estimate comes from a retrospective analysis of about 600,000 genomes collected by 23andMe and other companies.”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
evidence
 

⭕ DNA Evidence Falsification

From 1:12 The Alchemist

Liz: Y- you can’t change DNA.
Red: Well, the Alchemist can. Lizzy, this man is a forensic virtuoso. He’s an artist who paints in blood and saliva samples. Human tissue is his canvas. I’m not ashamed to say he’s even better than me at helping people disappear, which is why Madrczyk hired him and not myself.
Liz: Wait. Madrczyk tried to hire you?
Red: Competition is fierce.
–
Liz: How does he do it?
Red: I don’t know even half of it. I’ve heard rumors– removing the white blood cells from the victim and replacing them with the red blood cells of his client, leaving clone DNA at crime scenes to mislead the police, even incorporating synthetic DNA into genuine human tissue.
Liz: So this isn’t just evidence tampering. This is genetic manipulation.
Red: Yes. It’s a trade in death. The guilty give their blood and genetic identity.mThe innocent give their life for the guilty to live. If you find the Alchemist, you have a chance to resurrect the dead, to bring to justice some of the most vile creatures who ever lived.

NYT (2009): DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated, Scientists Show http://nyti.ms/1QFthct

● “Scientists in Israel have demonstrated that it is possible to fabricate DNA evidence, undermining the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases.

● “The scientists fabricated blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor of the blood and saliva. They also showed that if they had access to a DNA profile in a database, they could construct a sample of DNA to match that profile without obtaining any tissue from that person.

● “‘You can just engineer a crime scene,’ said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper, which has been published online by the journal Forensic Science International: Genetics. ‘Any biology undergraduate could perform this.’”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
donors
 

⭕ Sperm Donation

From 1:13 The Cyprus Agency

Liz: And you and your employees get rich?
Mallory/Shaw: No. Well, yes. But it’s not about the money for me.
Liz: What does that mean?
Mallory/Shaw: I think I’ve said enough. But my legacy is complete. And there is nothing you can do to change that.
Liz: Your legacy. You’re the father. The children brokered by the Cyprus Agency are yours. Why? Mallory/Shaw: Well, I was damaged goods, wasn’t I? Not fit to survive in their privileged world. Well, I am surviving. Now part of me is thriving in every home that has my child.

ABCNews (2012): Did Sperm Bank Founder Father 600 Children? http://abcn.ws/1LxDGm3

● “Wiesner died in 1972 and his wife died ten years later. Dr. Barton destroyed all the clinic’s medical records before her death. The couple had supposedly used sperm donations from their family friends to impregnate clients, with an attempt to match the physical characteristics of the clients.

● “DNA tests conducted on 18 people conceived at the clinic between 1943 and 1962, however, found that Wiesner was the father of 12.”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
identity
 

⭕ Dissociative Identity Disorder

From: 2:1 Lord Baltimore

Ressler: You’re the expert, but from where I sit, this is the perfect setup. One personality hiding behind the other, able to commit a crime and yet have no memory of it.
Liz: Well, that’s not exactly how it works.
Ressler: Rowan passed the lie-detector test.
Liz: That’s because Rowan’s unaware of Nora and Nora’s unaware of Rowan. That’s how dissociative identity disorder works. The two can’t conspire.
Ressler: [ Chuckles ] Well, then we’re screwed because we have Rowan and we need Nora. Liz: What we need to do is identify the trigger the image, sound, memory that flips her switch. Of course. It’s him.
[ Liz takes photo of Nora/Rowan and Marcus from evidence board ]
–
Liz: You were at her apartment. You’re in her photos. What are you, some kind of handler?
Marcus: I’m nobody.
[ Grunts, inhales sharply ] [ Breathing heavily ]
Marcus: She runs everything.
With your help. You’re manipulating her. You’re looking at life in prison. Cooperate, and maybe we can make a deal. Tell me about her trigger.

PsychologyToday: Dissociative Identity Disorder http://bit.ly/1MmDTOz

● “Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a condition wherein a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personalities. Sufferers of this rare condition are usually victims of severe abuse.”

● “DID reflects a failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness in a single multidimensional self. Usually, a primary identity carries the individual’s given name and is passive, dependent, guilty and depressed. When in control, each personality state, or alter, may be experienced as if it has a distinct history, self-image and identity. The alters’ characteristics—including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood—contrast with those of the primary identity. Certain circumstances or stressors can cause a particular alter to emerge. The various identities may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict.”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
hyperthymesia
 

⭕ Hyperthymesia (“Highly Superior Autobiological Memory”)

From 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank

Kaja: It’s called hyperthymesia. Highly superior autobiographical memory
Ressler: Like a photographic memory.
Kaja: It’s why the bank hired me so there wouldn’t be any paper trail. Pick a day: Any day, any year.
Ressler: Um, December 21, 2001.
Kaja: It was a Tuesday. I had dry toast for breakfast, bigos for lunch. I picked up a copy of the Fakt. Two earthquakes – One in Japan, Bonin Islands, another in Iran, 6.5. There was a lunar eclipse.
Liz: That’s incredible.
–
Kaja: A sheet of paper, I- I don’t just look at it and remember every word. I relive it the temperature of the room, the light.

Hyperthymesia[.]org: What is hyperthymesia and who has it? http://bit.ly/1M6H5ep

● “Hyperthymesia, or Superior Autobiographical Memory, has become more prominently known thanks to a TV series (Unforgettable) and the publicity surrounding Marilu Henner, who is one of only 12 known people in the world who are able to remember their lives on a day-by-day basis. People with hyperthymesia are able to remember the events of any given calendar date, usually back to puberty, with stunning and accurate detail. They can compare similar dates, or catalog days where the weather was rainy or they were in a certain place. Superior Autobiographical Memory makes it possible for individuals to use their minds like databases, remembering unusual details such as the clothes they wore, whom they may have met that day,and what they ate for lunch, even decades after the original event.”

● “Some of the defining characteristics of hyperthymesia include the ability to “see” depictions of days in their heads with no conscious effort and recollect events that hold personal significance. It is distinguished from other forms of exceptional memory in that it does not involve any form or practice or mnemonic tricks to store information. Studies have shown that hyperthymestics are not like autistic savants but they do exhibit an interest in dates, which they use extensively to categorize when a particular event in their lives happened.”

Wikipedia: Hyperthymesia http://bit.ly/1ioM3cK

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
tamponage
 

⭕ Tampons used to stem bleeding

From: 2:2 Monarch Douglas Bank

Click to Enlarge
image
 
Snopes [ a fact-checking site ]: Tampons to the Rescue http://bit.ly/1Ya9XJ8

● “[A]n April 2003 news story about odd uses soldiers stationed in Iraq were finding for non-military items said, ‘In the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, many soldiers carry tampons to plug bullet holes in case they are shot.'”

● “Numerous soldiers have told us that yes, tampons are indeed carried in med kits and are used on bullet wounds in the field. Medics with years of combat experience say they consider tampons excellent for penetration trauma because not only do they absorb a lot of blood, they are sterile, packaged with easy-to-use applicators, and leave a ‘tail’ protruding from the wound that aids doctors in easily removing them.

● “As to how old this practice is, one of our correspondents says he saw tampons used in this fashion during the Vietnam War.

● “Materials used in the manufacture of feminine products are especially well suited to wound care. Cellucotton, the substance used in Kotex (sanitary napkins), was devised for the purpose of improving bandages in World War I. In an odd way, with tampons being employed as emergency wound dressings in the field in Iraq, these products have come full circle.”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
warrior
 

⭕ Warrior Gene

From 2:4 Dr Linus Creel

Aram: Agent Keen had me expedite DNA profiles. All three perpetrators possess the MAO-A 2R gene.
Liz: The extreme-warrior gene.
Aram: Clinical studies have proven people who possess this gene are prone to aggressive, antisocial behavior.
Ressler: Are you suggesting the government has identified people with mild genetic abnormality and is turning them into killers?
That’s exactly what we’re suggesting.
–
Creel: Senator, it is all right here – seven years of research. These killings can be prevented. In my system, it will require children to be screened for the MAO-A 2R gene. Kids will be labeled. We’ll target them. It will cost —
Sheraton: I promise you, Dr. Creel, your research will be reviewed.
Creel: Reviewed. Studied. You don’t return my calls. You refuse to see me when I come up to your office. And when one of these incidents happens, you do nothing! I have been the leading voice in Congress on mental health for 20 years. How many more of these mass killings do we have now than we did then? I’m telling you we have the science. I can stop these killings, and you want to reject me? You want to reject the science?

BrownUniversity, Deborah Baum/R McDermott: “Warrior Gene” Predicts Aggressive Behavior After Provocation http://bit.ly/1M6IHVl
// 1/19/2009

● “Individuals with the so-called “warrior gene” display higher levels of aggression in response to provocation, according to new research co-authored by Rose McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University. In the experiment, which is the first to examine a behavioral measure of aggression in response to provocation, subjects were asked to cause physical pain to an opponent they believed had taken money from them by administering varying amounts of hot sauce. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

“Monoamine oxidase A is an enzyme that breaks down important neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The enzyme is regulated by monoamine oxidase A gene (MAOA). Humans have various forms of the gene, resulting in different levels of enzymatic activity. People with the low-activity form (MAOA-L) produce less of the enzyme, while the high-activity form (MAOA-H) produces more of the enzyme.

From 2:22 Tom Connolly

Connolly: … Look around. Why do you think I’m here? There’s a banquet tonight, fraternal order of police. I’m the keynote speaker. Four hours from now, I’m going to be on that stage, announcing that my office has secured an indictment against the members of a rogue task force.
Cooper: This task force was authorized by the FBI and the DOJ.
Connolly: By my predecessor at the DOJ. You’re going to prison, Agent Keen. Donald Ressler – his little oxy addiction will get him drummed out of the Bureau. Samar Navabi will be extradited to Iran, where she will stand trial for the murder of one of their top nuclear scientists. Charlene, Harold, even Agent Mojtabai. We have a little something in mind for all of you, including treason charges and the death penalty for Reddington. [ Emphasis added ]♤ So are we finished here? Because I think it’s cocktail hour. [ Liz draws her gun ] Oh. [ Chuckles ] What are you gonna do, Agent Keen – arrest me?
Cooper: Keen, put it down.
Connolly: I am nothing. I am a cog in a very large wheel. Shoot me, and somebody at least as powerful will take my place. You just won’t know who.
Cooper: Agent Keen, you do this, you become everything they say you are.
Liz: I can’t let him.
Cooper: Elizabeth, listen to me.
Cooper: That conversation we had in my hospital room, the good person I told you I didn’t want to lose [ Distorted ] The agent you were before all of this – you do this, and she’s gone.
[ Liz 💥fires💥 . Connolly falls, dead. Liz recalls, on the night of the fire, shooting her father ]
Cooper: Keen – Run.

“Several studies have found a correlation between the low-activity form of MAOA and aggression in observational and survey-based studies. Only about a third of people in Western populations have the low-activity form of MAOA. By comparison, low-activity MAOA has been reported to be much more frequent (approaching two-thirds of people) in some populations that had a history of warfare. This led to a controversy over MAOA being dubbed the ‘warrior gene.'”

“Their results demonstrate that –

● “Low-activity MAOA subjects displayed slightly higher levels of aggression overall than high-activity MAOA subjects.

● “There was strong evidence for a gene-by-environment interaction, such that MAOA is less associated with the occurrence of aggression in the low-provocation condition, … but significantly predicted aggression in a high-provocation situation (when the amount of money taken was high).” [ Emphasis added ]
 
Plus, Wikipedia: Monoamine oxidase A http://bit.ly/1FIi9oN
 
My research from earlier:

The Warrior Gene and Me http://bit.ly/1CCSij5
The Warrior Gene and Lizzie’s Mom http://bit.ly/1AVD3gG

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
plague
 

⭕ Pneumonic Plague

 

From: 2:5 The Front

Sharp: It’s a map.
Cooper: A map to what?
Sharp: A bedtime story. It’s a legend about the Apophis Strain, an ancient plague weaponized in the 14th century by both the Byzantines and the Ottomans that was mistakenly released and believed to be the real origin of the black death.
Ressler: You’re talking about the Bubonic Plague.
Sharp: No Pneumonic Plague, which is airborne and far more fatal. Scientists now believe that was the plague that killed 200 million people, one of the largest pandemics in history. That’s why, to prevent Armageddon, the sworn enemies agreed to task four priests to take the strain to the end of the world.
–
Sharp: One of the priests sent to guard the strain got sick. And to protect it, the dying man swallowed it whole, taking it to his grave. We know this because the others survived and created the map.
Liz: And the markings? What do they mean?
Sharp: They’re archetypal alignments. When you connect them, they create lay lines linking a network of historically significant sites.
Liz: You said the priests were sent to the end of the world. Where?
Sharp: Well, I said it was the end of the world. Not anymore. If I’m reading this correctly, the strain is buried here in America.

W.H.O: Plague http://bit.ly/1FMWz2m 3 types: bubonic,septicemic,pneumonic (the most deadly)

 
WaPo (3/31/2014): Everything you know about the Black Death is wrong http://wapo.st/1ND0YwH

● “In the autumn of 1348, a central Asian sickness arrived in London and quickly dispatched 60 percent of the city’s population. Within a decade, in what’s believed to be the worst human calamity of all time, something like 25 million Europeans [ and 75 million worldwide ] were dead. And when they died, the secrets of their demise disappeared with them.

“Until now.”

● “Expert Tim Brooks, who’s unrelated to this current finding, theorizes the disease was pneumonic — not bubonic — meaning that coughing and sneezing likely spread the sickness.”

● “‘As an explanation [rat fleas] for the Black Death in its own right, it simply isn’t good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics,’ expert Tim Brooks, who’s involved in a new documentary on the plague, theorized to the Guardian.”

 
TheWeek (3/30/2014): Rats and fleas off the hook: humans passed Black Death to each other http://bit.ly/1iPj2Xx

● “[S]cientists now believe the only way that the Black Death could have killed so many people in 1348 was if it was actually a pneumonic plague – an airborne version of the disease which can be spread from person to person through coughing.”

● “Dr Tim Brooks from Public Health England at the Porton Down research facility has a theory. Speaking of rats and fleas, Dr Brooks told the Guardian: ‘As an explanation for the Black Death in its own right, it simply isn’t good enough. It cannot spread fast enough from one household to the next to cause the huge number of cases that we saw during the Black Death epidemics.'”

 
Can ancient viruses be brought back to life?
 
TheNewYorker (2007): Darwin’s Surprise: Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses? http://nyr.kr/1QhHfAr

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
tet1
 

⭕ TET1 Memory Extinction Gene

From Luther Braxton – Conclusion

Aram: Sir, sir, I think I found a doctor with a connection to Braxton. [ To Samar, hugs ] You’re safe.
Aram: Uh, w– uh, what about Mr. Reddington?
Samar: He’s, uh, pursuing his own leads.
Cooper: Aram, the doctor?
Aram: Yes, right. Uh, sorry. Okay. Her name is Dr Selma Orchard. She’s an attending in neurology at Walter Reed and was part of a team that discovered a gene that makes it possible to erase memories.
Cooper: I’m sorry. Erase memories?
Aram: Yeah, the gene is known as TET1, and it’s critical to a process called memory extinction, where painful events are replaced with more positive associations. She was at Walter Reed.
Ressler: Was Braxton a soldier there?
Aram: First Gulf War. He was part of a friendly fire incident with multiple casualties in Khafji. I assume he brought this home with him. Orchard must have treated him at some point for this.
Cooper: Selma Orchard – Find her now.

TET1 Memory Extinction: MITNews: How old memories fade away http://bit.ly/1K91u1M
// 9/18/2913, Subtitle: “Discovery of a gene essential for memory extinction could lead to new PTSD treatments”
● “To measure the mice’s ability to extinguish memories, the researchers conditioned the mice to fear a particular cage where they received a mild shock. Once the memory was formed, the researchers then put the mice in the cage but did not deliver the shock. After a while, mice with normal Tet1 levels lost their fear of the cage as new memories replaced the old ones.

● “What happens during memory extinction is not erasure of the original memory,” Tsai says. “The old trace of memory is telling the mice that this place is dangerous. But the new memory informs the mice that this place is actually safe. There are two choices of memory that are competing with each other.”

● “In normal mice, the new memory wins out. However, mice lacking Tet1 remain fearful. “They don’t relearn properly,” Rudenko says. ‘They’re kind of getting stuck and cannot extinguish the old memory.'”

● “The findings suggest that a threshold level of methylation is necessary for gene expression to take place, and that the job of Tet1 is to maintain low methylation, ensuring that the genes necessary for memory formation are poised and ready to turn on at the moment they are needed.

● “The researchers are now looking for ways to increase Tet1 levels artificially and studying whether such a boost could enhance memory extinction. They are also studying the effects of eliminating two or all three of the Tet enzymes.
 
Nature: DNA methylation regulates associative reward learning http://bit.ly/1LbjWZy
// 8/25/2013

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
rmt
 

⭕ Recovered-memory therapy

From 2:10 Luther Braxton – Conclusion

Dr Orchard: [ To Liz ] It’s called recovered memory therapy. I’m going to use a combination of hypnotherapy and pharmaceuticals to put you into a lucid, waking dream state. My field is in blocking trauma. Extracting it, there are probable risks.
Liz: You don’t have to do this.
Orchard: I’m going to give you a sedative. The mind turns things off for a reason. I found that what the mind fights, the body tries to fight, too. I need you relaxed. This is for your own safety. He told me I need to take you back to a fire 26 years ago.
[ Whimpering ] [ Sobbing ]
Liz [ Sobbing ]: I don’t want to go back.
Orchard: I’m sorry.

 
Wikipedia: Recovered Memory Therapy http://bit.ly/1iHRL9A Sources: Late 90,s to mid 2000s

● “(RMT) is catch-all psychotherapy term for therapy using one or more method or technique for the purpose of recalling memories.[1] It does not refer to a specific, recognized treatment method, but rather several controversial and/or unproven interviewing techniques, such as hypnosis and guided-imagery, and the use of sedative-hypnotic drugs, which are presently rarely used in the responsible treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and other dissociative disorders. Proponents of recovered memory therapy claim that traumatic memories can be buried in the subconscious and affect current behavior, and that these can be recovered. The term is not listed in DSM-IV nor is it recommended by mainstream ethical and professional mental health associations.[2]”

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
transgenics
 

⭕ Transgenic Research

 

From: 2:17 The Longevity Institute

Maynard: According to his notes, Powell’s focused on transgenic research, which is the transferring of genes from one species into the genome of another. Look. These two rabbits are sisters. Now, before their mother gave birth, Powell removed the embryos that made them and injected one with jellyfish DNA. He then inserted the embryos back into the mother. Do you see the difference?
Liz: They look identical.
[ Maynard turns off lights and one rabbit is glowing ]
Maynard: Legitimate researchers around the world are doing this. They’ve made glowing cats, monkeys, cockroaches. I mean, this is very impressive, but the new work he’s doing that’s in here.
⋘⋙
Maynard: Behold– turritopsis dohrnii, known to modern science as the immortal jellyfish. As far as we know, it’s the only living creature on Earth that never dies. Well, I mean, it’s born and grows old like we do, but then, when it encounters environmental stress or assault, it reverses the aging process until it’s just a little polyp again.
Ressler: How is that even possible?
Maynard: It has the amazing ability to change its own cells. Some say it’s like a butterfly that turns into a caterpillar that grows back into a butterfly or a chicken that becomes an egg that hatches a new chicken.
Liz: So Powell is using these jellyfish to conduct experiments on human brains.
Maynard: He must be trying to regenerate the damaged brain tissue. He wants our cells to learn from the turritopsis dohrnii. I mean, look, Julian Powell, clearly insane, if this ever worked, it would be a concrete first step toward human immortality.

GeneticGeneration: Transgenic Organisms http://bit.ly/1UX9T0t (undated)

● “Modern genetic technology can be used to modify the genomes of living organisms. This process is also known as genetic engineering.’ Genes of one species can be modified, or genes can be transplanted from one species to another. Genetic engineering is made possible by recombinant DNA technology. Organisms that have altered genomes are known as transgenic. Most transgenic organisms are generated in the laboratory for research purposes. For example, ‘knock-out mice are transgenic mice that have a particular gene of interest disabled. By studying the effects of the missing gene, researchers can better understand the normal function of the gene.”

● “Example: Golden rice: modified rice that produces beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem for millions of people around the world,
particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia. Golden rice is still waiting regulatory approval.”

ActionBioscience (2003): Transgenic Animals: Their Benefits To Human Welfare http://bit.ly/1KqGHrT “[A]rticle highlights: Transgenic animals, i.e., engineered to carry genes from other species, have the potential to ● improve human welfare in:
● “agriculture, such as larger sheep that grow more wool
● “medicine, such as cows that produce insulin in their milk
● “industry, such as goats that produce spider silk for materials production”

Australian Dept of Health: List of Genetically Modified Product approvals http://bit.ly/1Ny1cno (last updated 8/11/2015)

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻
 
longevity
 

⭕ Longevity

 

From: 2:17 The Longevity Institute

Red: My yogi tells me that time doesn’t exist. He fully intends to live forever, and tragically, he’s not the only one. Tell me, what do you know about the Longevity Initiative?
Liz: I haven’t heard of it.
Red: It’s a private company dedicated to extending human life indefinitely, funded by none other than Roger Hobbs.
Liz: The tech billionaire?
Red: Yes. He started years ago. I know because he offered me the opportunity to invest as a founding partner in the project. I passed.
Liz: You know Roger Hobbs personally?
Red: Roger is considerably smarter than the above-average bear, and now it appears he may also be as deadly. You’re aware of the New York state trooper who was gunned down last night in the line of duty?
Liz: The suspect’s still missing, but they found mutilated bodies in the back of the truck.
Red: Not mutilated. Experimented on. The Longevity Initiative has entered the human-trial phase. If they’ve made a breakthrough, they need to test it.
Liz: On innocent victims.
Red: With any luck, I’ll be dead-wrong. Perhaps you’ll have a better sense once you’ve spoken with Roger Hobbs.
–
Hobbs: Sounds like science-fiction, I know, but it’s all grounded work. We have a goal– to solve the death riddle. To do that, we target the issue from every angle. We support unproven advanced genetic technologies that the mainstream establishment won’t even touch. Simply put, we are trying to extend the life of the human body as long as possible.

 
National Institute on Aging https://www.nia.nih.gov

 
American Federation for Aging Research http://bit.ly/1F3dEKy research funding

 
Alliance for Aging Research http://www.agingresearch.org policy, lobbying

 
ScienceBlog (Feb 2015): Ideology is Holding Back Aging Research http://bit.ly/1Lhz4Vl Rapamycin

IBTimes (Dec 2014): Big Pharma Makes Headway On ‘Fountain Of Youth’ Drug, Pouring Money, Resources Into Anti-Aging Research http://bit.ly/1KgRYtp

ScienceNews (Dec 2014): Young blood aids old brains http://bit.ly/1Ehzmdj Studies in mice offer hope for alleviating aging [ also under “breakthroughs” ]

TheAtlantic (Oct 2014): What Happens When We All Live to 100? http://theatln.tc/1LhA2AT
// “If life-expectancy trends continue, that future may be near, transforming society in surprising and far-reaching ways”

 
WebMD (Dec 2014): Researchers Take ‘First Baby Step’ Toward Anti-Aging Drug http://wb.md/1JckEja

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
bioweapons
 

🔴 BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS

 
wids
 

⭕❓ “Weapons of Individual Destruction”?

 
I found no references to such targeted viruses or “WIDs” actually having been developed. However, their possibility is discussed here:

 
BiologyStackExchange: “Theoretically, what technique would one use to modify a virus so that it only affected a subset of the population? http://bit.ly/1ioPlNl [ additional links are given ]
This is being suggested for convincing use in a fictional account, but the author says it would probably work:

… I think HLA type is probably the best way to claim specificity. Then the glycoprotein (fusion protein probably) on the virus fits only in an exact MHC class II molecule. If you want to hit some valid heavy science jargon, I recommend saying the virus was made with recombineering, using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC), with a florescent marker to make the scientist’s life easier (mush harder to work with viruses without nice markers).

Here is a methods paper [link] that describes that exactly, and has the advantage of of a free published protocol as well.

My problem with this method (using an HLA type to target) is that if you’re targeting MHC Class II, it’s going to be hard to kill the victim quickly. Kill off all the cells would give a person AIDS, but not necessarily lead to a quick death. Targeting MHC Class I could get around this, but then you’re not targeting specific cells (could be nerves, could be skin cells), and the person would probably mount a pretty good immune response. You’d probably have to hit the person with a pretty high dose to be sure you were infecting the cells you wanted to kill.

If you’re willing to allow a two-step process, I think the more targeted approach would be to create an inducible latent virus. Take one that commonly infects humans like CMV, and modify it so that it was only induced out of latent infection by a specific trigger (tagged food for example). Then further modify it so that it generates a highly toxic protein when it comes out of latency, like botulinum, that will both kill the person very quickly and have the possible appearance of something natural. If you use food is a trigger, then health workers would eventually figure out were all these people were eating and accuse them of food poising with botulism. Whether that can help your character in the plot, I don’t know.

Back to the creation of the virus, I would still use the method above, though it’s important to note that botulinum is a select agent, and that proper BSL would be a serious concern. Have a hard time imagining it going down in someone’s garage without them killing themselves. But if the person known how/has materials for gene synthesis (many, many labs do), then acquisition is just a question of making the gene for the published botulinum sequence.

It does occur to me that I might not should [sic] even post this based on it’s ability to work…feel free to vote/comment to close if that is conciseness [sic].

In the meantime, a vaccine for Ebola is being tested! –

⋙ W.H.O.: World on the verge of an effective Ebola vaccine http://bit.ly/1Ny3hBc

Nature: Successful Ebola vaccine provides 100% protection in trial http://bit.ly/1LsgTbk // 7/31/2015
Bad News ⇊ Good News ⇈
SciAm: Weaponized Ebola: Is It Really a Bioterror Threat? http://bit.ly/1QbsRtk
// 8/5/2014

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
genomics
 

🔴 GENOMICS

A law called the HIPAA Privacy Rule guarantees the confidentiality of “individually identified” patient medical data, but what does “confidentiality” mean?

“Under the current regulatory framework in the United States, studies involving deidentified health records are exempt from regulations governing research with human subjects.” http://1.usa.gov/15MnS1N (2010)

This is a ridiculously low bar. What it means is that ALL of your medical, demographic and financial data that the government now collects, CAN be used in population research as long as your name, social security number and/or medical record number are omitted. In other words, your data goes in – it’s just not directly linked to you. This data includes ALL of your medical diagnoses, medical procedures, your race, ethnicity, income level, where you live down to census tract, and the doctors and health facilities that see you, as well as information on your insurance and health plan.

This is a lot like what the NSA does: they collect everything, but it takes a court order to pull it out. Except that, in the case of medical data, it usually doesn’t even require a court order:

“[T]here are only a few states with laws that say the results of testing of a DNA analysis are “the unique” or “exclusive” property of the person sampled or analyzed, and thereby prevent the taking of a sample for DNA analysis. In most states, a person’s genomic information may be extracted from the samples they leave behind and used freely” http://bit.ly/1uU6JON

This is all genomics research needs – just the medical data already collected plus the patirnts’ genomic data, which can be derived from a blood test drawn for another reason. Then researchers simply correlate the data. Example: Determine the percentage of blacks living in Hyde Park in Chicago who have the marker for the “Warrior gene.” How many of these are on Medicaid or have incomes under $20/k a year?

//➔ SNPedia etc

Profiles of groups of people who have a given genomic feature which correlates with a specific medical conditions are now available online in a database called SNPedia. Every research study done on the correlation is cross-referenced in SNPedia http://www.snpedia.com/index.php/SNPedia. Here is the list of the common SNPedia searches:

the oxytocin receptor influences social behavior and personality (many SNPs)
rs1815739 – muscle performance
rs7412 and rs429358 – can raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by more than 10x
rs6152 – can influence baldness
rs333 – resistance to HIV
rs1800497 – in a dopamine receptor may influence the sense of pleasure
rs1805007 – determines red hair and sensitivity to anesthetics
rs9939609 – triggers obesity and type-2 diabetes
rs662799 – prevents weight gain from high fat diets
rs7495174 – green eye color and rs12913832 for blue eye color
rs7903146 – in 3% of the population greatly increases the risk of type-2 diabetes
rs12255372 – linked to type-2 diabetes and breast cancer
rs1799971 – makes alcohol cravings stronger
rs17822931 – determines earwax, sweating and body odor
rs4680 – varied cognitive effects
rs1333049 – coronary heart disease
rs1801133 – folate metabolism and several cancers
rs1051730 – and rs3750344 nicotine dependence
rs4988235 – lactose intolerance

//➔ Promethease etc

Remember: You can get this data on your own profile, but the FDA has made it difficult to access it. The agency has ruled that distributing this data along with any information other than the SNP ID number (eg rs123456) constitutes “medical advice,” and therefore is restricted. However, there are services which will do this translation for you, such as Promethease. It is also possible for you to get the information from 23andme but only if you know how. http://bit.ly/1uU6JON (2014)

Most people do not know the amount of medical data that is already collected on then. Most of this data collection was established under the original Medicare law in 1965, long before the widespread availability of computers, or, for that matter, of genomic dats. To learn more:

 
NIH/AmJBioEthics, Mark Rothstein: Is Deidentification Sufficient to Protect Health Privacy in Research? http://1.usa.gov/15MnS1N
// Sep 2010

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
eugenics
 

🔴 EUGENICS

 
With the availability of individual genomics data to the public, the possibility arises that proactive eugenics will become more pervasive. It is already sanctioned in the case of rare genetic diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Sickle Cell Anemia. Screening for major chromosomal abnormalities (Down’s Syndrome, XYY and XXX) has been the medical standard for decades. (As the mother of an XYY son, I can tell you how agonizing such decisions can be.) Parents may be tempted to try for that “perfect child,” even though the health of a species often lies in diversity. Even now, women wanting to conceive through artificial insemination can select a father from a catalog based on preferred characteristics. At present, the potential for abuse is far more likely to come from the parents themselves than from governments, though the danger of the latter has already been seen once in the 20th century.

Left-handedness was once considered aberrant, so fewer left-handed people found partners and the incidence of left-handedness decreased. Certain mental “disorders” including bipolar and OCD, though they can be painful for the individual, are thought to provide benefits to society as a whole, and besides that, many are now manageable with medicines. It has been established that CEOs, as a group, have a higher incidence of psychopathic traits than less “successful” individuals. Co-occurence is also an issue, for we know that certain positive traits entail an increased risk of traits considered negative. Others are risky, but only under adverse environmental conditions.

These are difficult medical and ethical problems, especially in a society that places almost all of the burden of “imperfect” children on parents who may not emotionally or financially be able to provide for them. And it will only get worse as women have fewer children and delay child-bearing.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 

🔴 “LOVE GENE”

(oxytocin, gazing, fandom)

 
My research from earlier:

Fathomless Eyes: Neurobiology of the Gaze http://bit.ly/13lrXbc (“Love Gene”)
Bibliography (Extensive): Oxytocin, Gazing, “Love Gene” http://bit.ly/12ZWgEP
 

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 

🔴 “NEUROTOXINS”

⋙ see below as own topic

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
money
 
 

🔴 MONEY IN POLITICS 

References are made in episodes 3:22 and 3:23 to campaign finance law, Citizens United, 501(c)4 organizations, PACs (political action committees) and Super PACs. Current law does not allow for contributions to political campaigns by non-US citizens. These matters are are connected and are described in this backgrounder:

There are three IRS organization types which can receive ‘political’ donations: 501(c)3 Charity Organizations, 501(c)4 Social Welfare Organizations, and 527 Political Organizations. They differ in how they are taxed and whether contributions to them must be publicly disclosed. In particular, 501(c)4s do not require disclosure. When the US Supreme Court ruled in th case of Citizens United, it lifted the caps on corporate and other organizational contributions to campaigns but encouraged that legislation be passed to make all organizations, including 501(c)4 Social Welfare organizations, disclose their donors. An attempt was made to pass such legislation (the “DISCLOSE” Act) but it failed by one vote in the Senate, with Democrats voting for disclosure and Republicans voting against it.

With no action on the disclosure front, a record number of organizations (especially Super PACs) wanted to be registered as 501(c)4s, in order to avoid disclosure requirements. At first most of these were Tea Party or other conservative organizations. When the IRS noticed this uptick, they put in place protocols to flag these applications for special scrutiny. The IRS was accused on taking sides politically (remember Lois Lerner?) and the IRS lost the public relations war.

The end result was a huge amount of money flowing into 501(c)4s. At first most new organizations appeared on the Right, but the Democrats soon followed. Many of the ads Americans will see during the 2016 election that are sponsored by organizations with unfamiliar names will likely have been paid for by 501(c)4s. The public and media have no way of knowing who is ponying up the cash. But the candidates know – and they know they are indebted to these sponsors, thus “cronyism” – America’s unique and creative approach to political corruption.

Foreign nationals and foreign organizations are not allowed to donate to US political campaigns, but if they do so under a 501(c)4, they cannot be identified as foreigners. This is what Alexander Kirk (Blacklist episodes 3:22 and 3:23) has done. He is a foreigner who is funding a US Presidential campaign to the tune of $300,000,000 (a lot! even by recent standards). Originally, if Senator Diaz were to win the election, he would have been “owned” by Alexander Kirk. Now, however, Red has Kirk’s money and he has his own demands of the Senator, should Diaz be elected President.

Cross-posted under [3:23 Alexander Kirk – Conclusion]. See also: Money in Politics Bibliography.

 
Poll (2014): 61% oppose Citizens United (money-in-politics) ruling (22% favor, 17% “don’t know”) http://bit.ly/1JR73iC Public Citizens’ poll, via BillMoyers
// 11/21//2014

Poll (2010): 80% oppose Citizens United (money-in-politics) ruling (85% Dems, 76% GOP, 81% Indies) http://wapo.st/1H1hfcf WaPo/ABC poll
// 2/17/2010

 
● OpenSecrets: Impact of Citizens United http://bit.ly/1H19R0k [background]

WaPo: Koch-backed network aims to spend nearly $1 billion on 2016 elections http://wapo.st/1BgqrAR may jump into GOP primaries
// 1/26/2015, “Freedom Partners, the tax-exempt business lobby that serves as the hub of the Koch-backed political operation, according to an attendee. The amount is more than double the $407 million that 17 allied groups in the network raised during the 2012 campaign”
 

Source: OpenSecrets 2012

Source: OpenSecrets 2012

 
WaPo, EJ Dionne: ‘Citizens United’ is turning more Americans into bystanders http://wapo.st/1CZEyNl
// 10/12/2014, “Outside groups empowered by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision are using mass media in ways that turn off Americans to democracy, aggravate divisions between the political parties and heighten animosities among citizens of differing views”

See also: Campaign Finance Bibliography.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
neurotoxins
 

🔴 Neurotoxins

(& vaccines, etc)

 
The original study linking MMR vaccine and autism was retracted…

In 1998, an article was published in The Lancet linking autism to vaccines http://bit.ly/1DlhOI3. Twelve years later, the journal retracted the article http://n.pr/1A3RYdH:

A 1998 Lancet paper reported on a dozen kids who developed various behavioral and intestinal problems. Eight of them had been vaccinated with a combination shot against measles, mumps and rubella.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the lead investigator, brought international attention to the paper by saying he thought the MMR vaccinations were to blame. The assertions chipped away at confidence in vaccination.

It later emerged that Wakefield had been taking money from a lawyer suing vaccine makers. The results of his study couldn’t be replicated. Most of Wakefield’s co-authors later retracted the paper’s interpretation of the data. The Lancet backed away from the paper in 2004, but defended its publication on the grounds it helped “raise new ideas.”

In 2011, Mayo Clinic published an article with the title “MMR Vaccine and Autism: Vaccine Nihilism and Postmodern Science” http://1.usa.gov/15MhkQ3. The article cited the numerous studies that had found no link between vaccines and autism and attempted to explain the anti-vaccine movement in psychosocial terms:

The way forward is clear. Because no credible evidence during the past 13 years supports the hypothesized connection between the MMR vaccine and autism disorders, it is bereft of credible evidence and must be discarded. At the same time, autism is a public health concern that must be addressed by enhancing research funding and directing that funding toward studies of credible hypotheses of causation. To continue pouring money into futile attempts to prove a connection to the MMR vaccine when multiple high-quality scientific studies across multiple countries and across many years have failed to show any hint of a connection, and in the face of biologic nonplausibility, is dangerous and reckless of lives, public funding, and ultimately public health….

Unfortunately, the media has given celebrities who comment on an autism-MMR link far more attention than they deserve, and the public, unfamiliar with the background science, has confused celebrity status with authority.

 
New group of neurotoxins identified by Harvard study

In 2014, The Lancet published a study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, indicating that “evidence is growing that we are pouring toxins into our environment that have been identified in studies as neurotoxins [which] may be triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities among children — such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia.” This group identified five neurotoxins in 2006 and has now added six more. (pee ScienceDaily http://bit.ly/1vbDszn 2/14/2014). Below is the complete list, with descriptions provided by Forbes:

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⭕ Identified in 2006:

Lead – This is one of the most extensively researched compounds in terms of neurodevelopment, and has been consistently linked to serious deficits, including low IQ. Its effects seem to be permanent, leading to the conclusion that there is no safe level of exposure.

Methylmercury – Affecting the neurological development of the fetus,exposure often comes from materal intake of fish containing high levels of mercury, according to the World Health Organization and the EPA.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) – This family of chemicals has routinely been associated with reduced cognitive function in infancy and childhood. It is often present in foods, particularly fish, and can be passed along in breast milk.

Arsenic – When absorbed through drinking water, this chemical has been linked to reduced cognitive function in schoolchildren. Follow-up studies from the Morinaga milk poisoning incident have linked it to neurological disease in adulthood.

Toluene – Used as a solvent, maternal exposure has been linked to brain development problems and attention deficit in the child, according to the EPA and OSHA.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
⭕ NEWLY Identified in 2014

Manganese – In the drinking water in Bangladesh, for example, this chemical has been linked to lower scores in math, diminished intellectual function, and ADHD.

Fluoride – Higher levels of this chemical has been connected with a 7-point decrease in IQ in children.

Chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides) – Linked to structural abnormalities of the brain and neurodevelopmental problems that persist up to age 7. These pesticides are banned in many parts of the world (U.S. included), but still used in many lower-income countries. They have recently been linked to Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Tetrachloroethylene (AKA perchlorethylene) – These solvents have been linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior, and increased risk of psychiatric diagnosis. Mothers in certain professional roles, like nurse, chemist, cleaner, hairdresser, and beautician had higher levels of exposure.

The polybrominateddiphenyl ethers – These flame retardants are banned now, but believed to be neurotoxins. Prenatal exposure has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders in the child.

 
Two more compounds of concern are bisphenol A (BPA), a common plastics additive, and phthalate , found in many cosmetics. BPA is an endocrine (hormone) disruptor, and, strongly suspected to affect neurodevelopment in children, it has been banned in baby bottles and sippy cups. Phthalates, which are common in personal products like nail polish and hair spray, have been routinely linked to shortened attention span and impaired social interactions in children.

 
Source: Forbes: 11 Toxic Chemicals Affecting Brain Devel In Children: Complete List http://onforb.es/1jdDD43 6 added in Feb 2014

 
I watched the news coverage of this story carefully and waited to see if it showed up in The New York Times. It did not. Nor did it appear in the The Washington Post. Just about every other reputable news organization covered it, from CNN http://is.gd/SkQ3PG to TheAtlantic http://theatln.tc/VRtzpf, from Voice of America http://bit.ly/1HmnVSv to Consumer Affairs http://bit.ly/1LmRV03.

Finally, this article which appeared in the New York Times on January 5, 2015, is concerning:

 
NYT: Discovery, Guided by Morality – A Neuroscience Lab Ponders the Purpose of Its Research http://nyti.ms/15WfWKr
// 1/5/2015, “Funding often comes from the military, and some neuroscientists fear their findings may soon be applied in ways that they never intended, raising moral questions that are seldom addressed.” ❗

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻

 
⭕ Are identification and reporting improving? (personal perspective)

Just an additional word: I do think some of the surge in additional autism cases has to do with with better reporting and with changes in our mental health system. During the Reagan adiministration, large numbers of patients were discharged from institutions. Prior to the 1980s, it was not uncommon for families to dump their “imperfect” children into such places, sometimes shutting off all contact with them. I knew some of these patients. They helped out in the kitchen when I worked in high school at an institution in our town of 3000. An additional 3000 people were housed in this institution. The institution I worked at was originally set up for “epileptics” – people who have no necessary intellectual or behavioral issues. Overtime the institution took in people physical brain/neurological problems (microcephaly, hydrocephalus) with severe or moderate behavior issues. People with mental health diagnoses (depression, bipolar, etc) were kept in another institution.

The conditions in some of the “cottages,” as they were called, were underwhelming. Patients were sorted into “cottages” by sex and age. Children spent their days, except for meals, in a single large room, the size of a basketball court. Many were clearly autistic or had OCD, rocking, walking in circles, talking to themselves. Some wore football helmets because their tendency to bang their heads against the wall. Not a few had scars on their foreheads indicating they had has a frontal lobotomy – a medical misadventure if there ever was one. Few psychopharmaceuticals were available at the time. Staff were few and ill-trained, sometimes getting caught performing egregious acts (like forcing a patient’s head into a toilet). Certainly, in most cases it was better that these patients were de-institutionalized. But now, many of these children are at home with their parents, who don’t have 4 or 5 children but one or two, expected to be “perfect.” As adults, some become street people. Others are helped by meds or simply grow out of the worst of their symptoms and move on.

P.S. In some of the reading I have been doing on mirror cells and oxytocin, research is finding additional ways to help these individuals. Oxytocin administration appears to help those with autism, and it has been suggested that autism may be a failure of the mirroring system.

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
energy
 

🔴 Oil and Other Energy Sources

 
● Clean energy
● Contango
● International manipulation of oil prices
● Tar sands

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
capitalism
 

🔴 State Capitalism

 
[ Update: ] TheEconomist: State capitalism in the dock http://econ.st/1iHotId “The performance of state-owned enterprises has been shockingly bad”
// 11/22/2015, “As the West slipped into a crisis in 2007-08, state capitalism supposedly took the business world by storm, particularly in the emerging world. It had two elements. Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) gathered the excess savings that oil-rich and Asian countries accumulated, investing them overseas. And a new, hybrid kind of [state-owned enterprise or SOE] was in vogue. When Europe and Latin America privatised firms in the 1980s and 1990s, they often went the whole hog, with the state selling out completely—think of British Gas or telecoms in Brazil. But in the 2000s private investors were invited to play only a subordinate role, with the state keeping a controlling stake and making enlightened decisions in the interests of all. Investors lapped it up: they forked out more than $500 billion in SOE equity raisings between 2000 and 2012.

“What went wrong? As trade surpluses and commodity prices have fallen, SWFs have accumulated cash at a slower rate and spent less on buying stakes in firms. In 2013 their investments were $50 billion, under half the level of 2008, reckons Bernardo Bortolotti of Bocconi University in Milan. SOEs, meanwhile, have been through hell. Tumbling commodity prices have hurt energy and mining firms. Sanctions have clobbered Russian firms. Corruption scandals have erupted, and not just in Brazil. Jiang Jiemin, PetroChina’s ex-boss, was arrested in 2013, for example.”

“Yet at the heart of all these efforts, a tension remains: who are SOEs run for? The public good, as interpreted by politicians? Or shareholders? Only some countries have resolved this, either by the state selling out completely, or by establishing robust mechanisms to keep firms at arms’ length from the government, such as at Temasek, Singapore’s state holding company. Until this question is resolved the value-destroying impulses of SOEs will remain, and investors will be wary of both established firms and newcomers.”

 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
TheEconomist (2012): Something old, something new: A brief history of state capitalism http://econ.st/1vPHRaN //➔ explains the rise of state capitalism in Russia & China since the Cold War: “…The final event was the collapse of Soviet communism. This was initially seen as one of the great triumphs of liberalism, but it soon unleashed dark forces. Communist apparatchiks-turned-oligarchs grabbed chunks of the economy. Between 1990 and 1995 the country’s GDP dropped by a third. Male life expectancy shrank from 64 to 58. Once-captive nations broke away. In 1998 the country defaulted on its debts.

The post-Soviet disaster created a craving for order. Vladimir Putin, then Russia’s president, reasserted direct state control over ‘strategic’ industries and brought the remaining private-sector oligarchs to heel. But just as important as the backlash in Russia was the one in China. The collapse of the Soviet Union confirmed the Chinese Communist Party’s deepest fear: that the end of party rule would mean the breakdown of order. The only safe way forward was a judicious mixture of private enterprise and state capitalism.

⋙ Most of the alarm over state capitalism has come from the right of the political spectrum

 
Key Sources:

 
● The Economist (2012): State capitalism http://econ.st/11lUfBY
● The Economist (2012): The visible hand http://econ.st/1tkzrl9
● ForeignRelations (2009): State Capitalism comes of age http://fam.ag/15B6yfB
● WSJ (2010): China’s ‘State Capitalism’ Sparks a Global Backlash http://on.wsj.com/1zYPiKO
● Bloomberg (Aug 2014): Statist Strongmen Putin and Xi See History’s Capitalism Clash http://bloom.bg/1vPOHN5
Additional:
● WSJ/PetersonFoundation Nicholas Rowdy (Sep 2014): Is China’s ‘State Capitalism’ Dead? Another View http://on.wsj.com/1xUArSx
● TheEconomist (2012): State captitalism’s global reach: New masters of the universe http://econ.st/1rwp2lK

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
surveillance
 

🔴 Surveillance

 
Wikipedia:
 
● Before Snowden (1970-2012) http://bit.ly/1xasBG6
● Snowden & Beyond (2013- ) http://bit.ly/1E1mIhy

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
terrorism
 

🔴 Terrorism

 
For discussion of terrorism in the context of Islam, see also Islam (including terrorism). This section includes extensive references, including writing of Islamic scholar on the question of Islam and jihad.

Definitions of Terrorism in the U.S. Code

18 U.S.C. § 2331 defines “international terrorism” and “domestic terrorism” for purposes of Chapter 113B of the Code, entitled “Terrorism”:

“International terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

Involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
Appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
Occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum.*
“Domestic terrorism” means activities with the following three characteristics:

Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

18 U.S.C. § 2332b defines the term “federal crime of terrorism” as an offense that:

Is calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government by intimidation or coercion, or to retaliate against government conduct; and
Is a violation of one of several listed statutes, including § 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a federal facility with a dangerous weapon); and § 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the U.S.).
FISA defines “international terrorism” in a nearly identical way, replacing “primarily” outside the U.S. with “totally” outside the U.S. 50 U.S.C. § 1801(c).
http://1.usa.gov/1HKiTQL

 

༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
trade
 

🔴 Trade Agreements

 
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
 

[ Update: The Trans-Pacific Partnership was approved by Congress and signed by the President. Soon after this, however, it ran into trouble due to disagreements between the nations involve. Articles above the “⊰ ♤ ⊱” provide some updates ]
 
💙 USTR: Update on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations http://1.usa.gov/1MkykAn
// 9/8/2015, USTR: Office of the U.S. Trade Representation

 
Wikileaks: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Treaty: State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Issues for Ministerial Guidance http://bit.ly/1ONwSnv
// 7/29/2015

 
WaPo, Greg Sargent: The GOP’s Donald Trump nightmare may soon get a whole lot worse http://wapo.st/1K6dXkw #TPP
// 9/11/2015

 
Dkos: USTR posts its take on TPP http://bit.ly/1QaCgRX
// 9/8/2015

 
TheNation: Congress Is Sick of the Secrecy Around the TPP ¤ http://bit.ly/1J5Nulm
And Senator Sherrod Brown is blocking a key Obama nominee to show it.
// 8/20/2015

 
ABC [AU]: #TalkAboutIt: Five ways the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could affect you http://ab.co/1K88prQ
// 7/23/2015 [ Australian ]

 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
The TPP  would place restraints on the open Internet and allows corporations to sue nations in special courts:

 

⊰ ♤ ⊱
 
● Moyers&Co, Larry Cohen: Fighting Fast Track: Is It Really China or Us? http://bit.ly/1zJ2Rg7 #TPP #TPA #Trade
// 2/23/2015
 
● Forbes (Sep 2014): Secrecy-Shrouded TPP Leaks Alarm Internet Freedom Advocates http://onforb.es/1yXcIk0
 
● HuffPo, Jacob Devaney: Conservatives and Liberals Agree, the TPP Trade Deal Hates Your Freedom http://huff.to/12xRr4B [opinion]
// 11/10/2014
 
● Motherboard (Oct 2014): The Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Still an Enemy of the Internet http://bit.ly/1vZut0F

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
profiteering
 

🔴 War Profiteering and Mercenaries

 
Moyers&Co: A Force Unto Itself: A Military Leviathan Has Emerged as America’s 51st and Most Powerful State http://bit.ly/1PAvm6o
// 3/24/2016

 
BusinessPundit (2008): The 25 Most Vicious Iraq War Profiteers http://bit.ly/1M6VM0O

● “The Iraq war is many things to different people. It is called a strategic blunder and a monstrous injustice and sometimes even a patriotic mission, much to the chagrin of rational human beings. For many big companies, however, the war is something far different: a lucrative cash-cow. The years-long, ongoing military effort has resurrected fears of the so-called ‘military-industrial complex.’ Media pundits are outraged at private companies scooping up huge, no-questions-asked contracts to manufacture weapons, rebuild infrastructure, or anything else the government deems necessary to win (or plant its flag in Iraq). No matter what your stance on the war, it pays to know where your tax dollars are being spent.”

1. Halliburton – infrastructure rebuilding, including of oil fields
2. Veritas Capital Fund/DynCorp – training of new Iraqi police forces
3. Washington Group International – maintenance (including for high-output oil fields)
4. Environmental Chemical – munitions disposal
5. Aegis – training, trained Iraqi security forces
6. International American Products – electrical
7. Erinys – mining, petroleum and construction (guarded Iraqi oil fields)
8. Fluor – water and sewage systems
9. Tutor Perini – general contractor (controlled by Richard Blum, husband of Dianne Feinstein)
10. URS Corporation – defense contractor, environmental cleanup

 
TheAtlantic, Kathy Gilsinan: The Return of the Mercenary http://theatln.tc/1M6RBSL How private armies, and the technology they use, are changing warfare
// 3/25/2015
● “America’s reliance on private military companies in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade hasn’t just expanded the industry; it’s also started to change the conduct of international relations. In theory, armed forces for hire give private actors the option to wage wars where governments can’t, or won’t. In 2008, for example, actress and activist Mia Farrow explored hiring Blackwater to intervene in Darfur, telling ABC News at the time, ‘Blackwater has a much better idea of what an effective peace-keeping mission would look like than Western governments.’ Private military companies also allow governments to disclaim involvement in politically controversial activities. ‘Putin is using Chechen mercenaries in Ukraine, allegedly,’ McFate said. ‘Who’s going to tell him you can’t do that after 10 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan?’”

● “Private militaries never really went away, but according to Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and associate professor at National Defense University, they have experienced a resurgence in the past 25 years.”

● “McFate: The private military industry allows you to fight wars without having your own blood on the gambling table. And drones just do that as well. If you think about this as an arms-control issue, both [drones and private military companies] should be part of the same category, because they allow national governments to get involved in fighting without actually having citizens do it. And that creates moral hazard for policymakers, because it lowers the barriers of entry into conflict.”

 
CommonDreams: US to Spike Private Mercenaries in Iraq Amid Expanding War, Says Senior Official http://bit.ly/1Oqi00i
// 12/25/2014

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༺✦ ♤ ✦༻


 
iraq

 
 
⭕ Was the Iraq War Over Oil?

MSNBC, TRMS (2/18/2013): Hubris: Selling the Iraq War [ YouTube video ] http://bit.ly/1QBxRIJ
↥ ↧
MSNBC, TRMS (2/18/2013): Hubris: Selling the Iraq War – The Rumsfeld memos http://on.msnbc.com/1OrOmYD
 
RSN (2013): Cheney’s Halliburton Made $39.5B on Iraq War http://is.gd/VPFs2O
 
McClatchy (2013): Iraqi oil: Once seen as US boon, now it’s mostly China’s http://is.gd/WrU9sk
 
IBTimes (2013): And The Winner For The Most Iraq War Contracts Is… KBR [part of Halliburton], w $39.5B/decade http://is.gd/V7RK4t
 
NYT (2013): China Is Reaping Biggest Benefits of Iraq Oil Boom http://is.gd/KYtuSh
 
WashBlog (2013): Top Republican Leaders Say Iraq War Was Really about Oil http://is.gd/OhbtB7 lots of quotes
 
RSN (2012): Western Oil Firms Remain as US Exits Iraq http://is.gd/v9geid
 
WaPo, Woodward (2007): Greenspan: Ouster Of Hussein Crucial For Oil Security http://is.gd/hREALy
 
MarketWatch (2007): Halliburton to move headquarters to Dubai http://is.gd/XSy1mj how convenient
 
Slate (2006): Halliburton: Lament of the Profiteer http://is.gd/zLOinU “War Profiteering is harder than it seems”
 
CNN/Fortune, Elkind (2005): Halliburton: No-bid contracts, cronyism, profiteering http://is.gd/FzVqLQ
 
WSJ (2003): US Oil Wants To Work in Iraq http://is.gd/4J8njj “Concerns Discuss How to Raise Output After a Possible War”
 
Cheney’s National Energy Policy [likely the public version] [pdf] http://is.gd/KKVAJ4
 
SourceWatch on: Cheney Energy Task Force http://is.gd/ETTfJH

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 
weapons
 

🔴 Weapons

(Bombs, Drones, Robots)

WaPo, Christian Davenport: Robots, swarming drones and ‘Iron Man’: Welcome to the new arms race http://wapo.st/1SaFfJm
// 6/17/2016

● “The Pentagon is turning to start-ups and steering billions of dollars to its own laboratories and project teams to develop prototypes for the kind of promising technologies it may need in the future.

● “It is testing autonomous ships that can remain at sea for months without a crew, an electromagnetic railgun that fires a projectile that can travel at seven times the speed of sound, and increasingly powerful laser weapons that sizzle their targets.

● “At a recent conference put on by Defense One, a website that provides news and analysis on defense and national security, highlighted an effort to produce “revolutionary textiles that combine fibers with electronics to create fabrics that can sense, communicate, store energy, monitor health, change color, and much more.”

● “The Pentagon speaks of its ‘Third Offset Strategy,’ a way to offset shrinking budgets and transient technological superiority. The first offset was the use of nuclear deterrence to keep the Soviets at bay starting in the 1950s. The second was the advent of new precision munitions and stealth to overwhelm robust air and ground forces of adversaries. …

● “[T]he Pentagon plans over the next five years to invest $18 billion in the Third Offset, including about $6 billion in the classified ‘black’ budget …

● “After decades of unmatched superiority, the Pentagon fears that potential adversaries have benefited from the proliferation of commercial technology and have caught up with the United States. …

● “The goal is not ‘killer robots that roam the battlefield,’ said Work, a self-proclaimed science fiction fan. “I think more in terms of ‘Iron Man’ — the ability of a machine to assist a human, where the human is still in control in all matters, but the machine makes the human much more powerful and much more capable.”

● “Much of the work is being done in the Pentagon’s top-secret labs, at places such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Office of Naval Research and the secretive Strategic Capabilities Office. …

● “Next month, the magic will come in the form of a swarm of 30 small drones that will fly together like a flock of birds, …

● “Lasers — yes, think Star Wars — are another priority. In 2014, the Navy deployed a $40 million, 30-kilowatt laser that was mounted on the deck of the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf.
● “Service members practiced taking out drones and small boats using a video-game-like controller. Now it is fully operational, and the Pentagon could record its first kill with a laser. …

● “The technology is moving fast, and by 2018, DARPA plans to test a 150-kilowatt laser on a ship that will be five times more powerful than one on the USS Ponce.

 
FastCo: These Apocalyptic Robot Army Foot Soldiers Will Be The Last Thing You See Before You’re Eliminated http://bit.ly/1gn58dj
// 8/19/2015, “Boston Dynamics … which works with the U.S. military and DARPA, has just shown off the Atlas, a humanoid robot that cannot be stopped”

 
BBC, Simon Parkin: Killer robots: The soldiers that never sleep http://bbc.in/1gmxpB0
// 7/16/2015, “In the city of Daejeon, South Korea, an arms manufacturer has designed and built a gun turret that’s able to identify, track and shoot targets, theoretically without the need for human mediation. Who will teach these robot soldiers the rules of engagement?”

 
Army[.]mil: More ground robots to serve alongside Soldiers soon http://1.usa.gov/1MmW6vx
// 4/8/2015, “The robotics include autonomous and semi-autonomous systems used to clear mines, provide surveillance, convoy supplies and acquire targets, among many other things.”

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༺ ✿⊰ ♤ ⊱✿༻
 

🔴 PPP’s 2013 POLL ON CONSPIRACY THEORIES

 
[See also this blog’s section on: Conspiracy Theories]

 
Public Policy Polling (highly accurate in predicting 2012 election) published its Conspiracy Theory Poll Results on April 2, 2013 http://bit.ly/1tyyXrR. They found that “28% of voters believe [a] secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order. A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t.” Looks like The Blacklist has plenty of room for its fanbase to grow!

In fact, as readers of this blog know, if  “power elite with a globalist agenda” is characterized as “state capitalism,” a lá China and Russia, count me in. And I’m not even a Republican. Below are the summarized results of the PPP poll:

 

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● 37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is a hoax by a 58-25 margin, Democrats disagree 11-77, and Independents are more split at 41-51. 61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax

● 6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive

● 21% of voters say a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the US government covered it up. More Romney voters (27%) than Obama voters (16%) believe in a UFO coverup

⋙ 28% of voters believe a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order. A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t. //➔ [sounds like Fitch’s (R.I.P.) “Alliance” to me]

● 28% of voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. 36% of Romney voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, 41% do not

● 20% of voters believe there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism, 51% do not

● 7% of voters think the moon landing was faked

● 13% of voters think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ 👿, including 22% of Romney voters [which cannot be true because George W Bush 👿👿 is the anti-Christ http://bit.ly/1AaK26R ]

● Voters are split 44%-45% on whether Bush intentionally misled about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 72% of Democrats think Bush lied about WMDs, Independents agree 48-45, just 13% of Republicans think so

● 29% of voters believe aliens exist

● 14% of voters say the CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in America’s inner cities in the 1980’s

● 9% of voters think the government adds fluoride to our water supply for sinister reasons (not just dental health)

● 4% of voters say they believe in “lizard people” who control our societies by gaining political power [I  me some lizard people ♡ ૂི•̮͡• ૂ ྀ♡ ]

● 51% of voters say a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination, just 25% say Oswald acted alone [don’t get me started!]

● 14% of voters believe in Bigfoot

● 15% of voters say the government or the media adds mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals (the so-called Tinfoil Hat crowd)

● 5% believe exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons

● 15% of voters think the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry “invent” new diseases to make money

● Just 5% of voters believe that Paul McCartney [sic] actually died in 1966

● 11% of voters believe the US government allowed 9/11 to happen, 78% do not agree

 

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PPP subsequently published a follow-up poll on 10/2/2013 “Conspiracy Theories Round Two: Republicans More Likely To Subscribe to Government Conspiracy Theories” http://bit.ly/1vaEYdU

The most dramatic differences between Republicans and Democrats were on whether Obama is trying to take guns away (48% difference),whether Obama is trying to stay in office after 2016 (31% difference), whether Muslims are trying to impose sharia law (30%), and whether bankers are trying to force everyone to use online banking and will then cut the power grid (17%).
Seven percent of Republicans think aliens have taken over the US government [!] vs 1% of Democrats.

Thirty-two percent of everyone and 41% of blacks think major sporting events are rigged.

About 20% of everyone – Democrats and Republicans alike – think a secret society (like Skull & Bones) produces most of the country’s political and economic leaders and serves the interests of the wealthy elite. [What? Only 20%!?].

And 54% of Americans believe it’s possible to get away with murder if you have enough money.

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