Sunday, December 30, 2018

Linda Moulton Howe capitulates

"I am preparing a fact check update for Earthfiles and my December 27-28, 2018, Coast to Coast AM radio broadcast with the finding that the original November 29, 2018, three-part tale by 71-year-old Jon Lavine ... appears to be mostly dishonest for reasons unknown. In the face of contradictory facts, Lavine keeps insisting his secret astronaut story is real, even though many of his assertions don't hold up credibly under research scrutiny that will be laid out in my upcoming fact check updates."
        That climb-down appeared before Christmas on LMH's earthfiles website. Always heart-warming to see a pseudo-scientist admit error—it doesn't happen nearly often enough, in my NSHO. My earlier bloggery pouring scorn on Linda's three-part cock-and-bull story about secret extended Apollo missions and aliens on the Moon was very popular, having 650 page views so far. I thought maybe my own efforts were partly responsible for the back-pedalling over at earthfiles, but in the same announcement LMH credits five specific information sources, and this blog isn't one of them.

        I also e-mailed LMH pouring a little more scorn in her direction. She wrote "My goal is always the pressure of fact" (LOL) and she cited this disclaimer:
"Real X-Files do not always have hard proof, but the firsthand testimonies are presented as valuable to consider in the challenge of determining facts and truth in subjects that American and other governments have hidden behind policies of lies and denials in the interest of national security."
        I interpret that as "CAUTION: This website contains unverified, un-investigated bullshit".

        Linda calls herself an "investigative reporter". It seems to me that she cannot possibly have done even the minimum investigation of Jon Lavine's story before swallowing it and promoting it both on earthfiles and on Coast-to-Coast AM. She would have saved herself this professional embarrassment if she'd merely asked the following questions:

  • Where did the rockets and spacecraft for three Apollo missions come from?
  • Where were they launched?
  • Who were the flight controllers? (All the Apollo controllers retired or were re-assigned after Apollo 17. Apollo 20 was cancelled in January 1970. Apollo 18 and 19 were cancelled in September 1970)
  • Is it reasonable to propose that the "secret Apollo 20" landed in a spot that NASA had no hope of communicating with?
  • Is the so-called "crashed spaceship" actually a crashed spaceship, or a natural depression?

        Returning to Coast-to-Coast AM for her monthly stint on 27 December, LMH trotted out a whole bunch of hearsay about how the CIA and MK-Ultra have perfected the techniques of mind control, memory-wiping and memory substitution. In an almost-apology for the earlier story, her strong suggestion was that Jon Lavine had been the victim of false memory implantation. I think that's supposed to be excusing Lavine, along the lines of "He wasn't bullshitting me, he really believes he flew that mission". All I have to offer on that is more scorn.

Update 31 December:
        Linda's been busy. She has now published a long web page titled Trying to Separate Facts from Fiction in Strange Jon Lavine Tale. Later: ooops, she deleted it! Later still: oops, she put it back.  The piece is very disjointed, and takes off into irrelevant backwaters such as Project Horizon (which was cancelled before ever flying). To me, it looks like a first draft of something that will be rewritten and drastically trimmed at some later time.

        Linda admits that the curriculum vitae Lavine gave her was fraudulent. She admits that a photograph he gave her, purporting to be him preparing for the Apollo 20 launch in 1976, was in fact of NASA astronaut Katherine Sullivan. She admits that a Saturn V could not have launched from Vandenburg.  However, none of that seems to be enough for this "investigative reporter" to declare Lavine a liar, apologize for her gullibility, and put the story to bed. She rambles on about MKULTRA memory-substitution experiments, clearly continuing to suggest that Lavine may be a victim instead of a fraud. Is anybody going to believe this poppycock?

Happy New Year everyone...

Update 13 January, that fake photo that fooled LMH

        Here's the photo Linda embedded in her later essay, writing that it was Lavine's evidence that he really did meet an alien on the Moon:

Now here's the Sci-Fi film "AREA 51". Linda, go to your room.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Mike Bara in "Getting something right" shocker

        The last time this blog admitted that Mike Bara was right about something was back in July 2017, when he roundly debunked Jay Weidner's "Nazca mummy" hoax. Well, what do you know? He was right again in last night's Tell the truth Wednesday vlog—or at least, in one part of it.
00:58 "If you believe that airplanes didn't hit the buildings on 9/11, or that building number 1, I think it was, didn't fall on building number 7 and damage it, I can't help you. If you think a drone or a missile hit the pentagon, and all the people were actually taken off of the airplanes to some secret base somewhere, and the planes were replaced with different airplanes— I can't help you. This is not the place for me. Because that's all bullshit, OK? What happened on 9/11 was that four jetliners were hijacked by Muslim terrorists and they were flown into buildings. The twin towers, the Pentagon, and the fourth one crashed in Pennsylvania. It was shot downnote 1 and crashed—that's the truth. And there's no mystery about what happened, it's all simply a matter of math, physics and structural dynamics, and gravity. It really is. So... I looked at all the details of this, to explain it to you guys, and I have. But [...] it's the only one that makes sense. There are some people out there doing some interviews saying things like "I was told by insiders, bla-bla-bla that the planes were hijacked and landed in a secret airfield, and all the people were taken off, and now they're working as slaves in underground bases, and empty planes were replaced and flown into the buildings." That's bullshit. First of all it's not only bullshit, but it's Sean David Morton's information from about 2012. And the people that are out there espousing it now... I'm not going to name any names, got it from Sean David Morton —they simply stole his ideas. Which by the way were completely fucking wrong in the first place. So it's just really frustrating to me to have to deal with this stuff. The important thing to remember about 9/11 is that it does not require bombs, missiles, [...], particle beams...none of that is required for there to be a conspiracy about 9/11. I'm very convinced it was a conspiracy, a financial based conspiracy, but the conspiracy was to use Arab terrorists to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings. That was the conspiracy!"
        That took us to about 03:30 in a one-hour performance. Later, he was right again in recommending that his followers "take with a grain of salt" the claims of "Jon Lavine" in relation to the so-called secret later Apollo missions. In that case he didn't go far enough, in my view.

        Well, obviously he couldn't keep on being right for a whole hour. He went off into political material for about ten minutes, then returned to "science" by reiterating a fairy-story first invented by Richard Hoagland, according to which The first Chinese Moon lander confirmed that the Moon was covered in vast glass domes. Here's the image:

        Hoagland arrived at this travesty by using the EQUALIZE tool in Photoshop. Using EQUALIZE when more than half of the image is expected to be RGB 0,0,0 is not likely to lead to anything authentic or true. In this case it simply revealed random CCD noise. I covered this four years ago. Naturally, last night Bara did not credit Hoagland as the, I should say corrupter, of this image. Neither did he give the true technical history of the image; he presented it as though it was exactly what the Chinese Space Agency released.

        I nearly fell off my chair when Bara pointed to the shazz in the sky exclaiming "see how geometrical it is!" None of the fans commenting in real time called bullshit, what a surprise.

Further reading
        Stuart Robbins did a far more thorough job of explaining why this image is invalid, back in May 2014.

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[1] Well, it would be too much to expect him to be completely right, wouldn't it?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Linda Moulton Howe throws her reputation away

Linda told such dreadful lies
It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes... 
(Hilaire Belloc, corrupted)

        Linda Moulton Howe's bio is at pains to emphasize what a serious, legitimate journalist she is—how her work has been recognized and awarded internationally, bla bla bla...

Get your filthy hand off her tits Erich

        So how come she has now thrown that rep into the trash bin by coming out with a three-parter that is balderdash, poppycock, and codswallop from start to finish? I suppose the answer has to be that, just like Robert Morningstar, Richard Hoagland, and other targets of this blog, she likes to cultivate the image of herself as someone in possession of arcane knowledge that the mainstream dare not print or speak of.

        Howe recently conducted a long interview with someone calling himself Jon Lavine, and claiming to have been an astronaut on at least one of the Apollo 18-20 missions, that  were not canceled as we all believe but launched in secret, perhaps from Vandenburg AFB, and actually landed on the Moon. There they were met by an alien who quoth "We'd like you to leave. We don't want you on the moon.” The mainstream does not print or speak of this BECAUSE IT'S NOT FUCKING TRUE.

       This so-called "serious, legitimate journalist" made it all the worse by a) repeating the story for two solid and nauseating hours on Coast to Coast AM last week, and b) monetizing this pile of steaming merde by only allowing those who pay her $55/year to see it. How can anyone calling themselves a journalist do so little research that they actually believe this?

A few problems with this story
       Just for a start, those missions could not have been launched from anywhere without the rockets and spacecraft they would have needed. As a matter of fact, quite a lot of the hardware for 18/19/20 was actually manufactured, but we know what became of it. For example, the second stage of the launcher intended for A18 became Skylab. Various parts of surplus rocketry are on display as a complete Saturn V stack, at the Cape. The CSM for Apollo 18 was used for the Apollo-Soyuz linkup. The LM for Apollo 18 was never quite finished and was used in the mini-series From the Earth to the Moon. The full story of the unused hardware is here.

        Launches from Vandenburg are generally southwards, into polar or near-polar orbits. They cannot be eastward for safety reasons, and so cannot benefit from the free eastward velocity of the Earth's rotation. The site is therefore very unsuitable for Moon launches. And then, there are no facilities at Vandenburg for stacking and launching a Saturn V rocket, and never have been.

        Unbelievably, LMH swallowed "Jon Lavine"'s story even to the point of re-telling the totally false story of Apollo 20 visiting a crashed spaceship on the far side of the Moon, and retrieving a beautiful-ish woman who was one of its pilots. God save us, that 3 mile long "crashed spaceship" is the lunar feature this blog has shown many times already. Here it is once again, first on Apollo 15's pan camera...

...then as seen by LRO's narrow-angle cameras at 8m/px.

        Note, once again, that the feature (actually a trench about 7km long) is cratered to the same density as its surroundings.

Trekker proves it's a depression not an object

Latest high-def view from Chinese orbiter, provided by One Big Monkey

        This baby is centered at 117.68°E, 18.66°S, well round the back side, out of radio contact with Mother Earth. It's unthinkable that NASA would land at a place from which they couldn't get any data or voice. Exploration of the back side will have to wait until we've established a data relay satellite in lunar orbit (as the Chinese plan to do very soon).
Update: They've done it! Chang'e 4 landed in Von Kármán crater on 2 Januaty 2019. Congratulations.

         The producers of Coast to Coast AM have to share some blame for foisting this caca on their audience of millions, but it's LMH herself I want to excoriate. I'm disgusted, actually...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

End-of-year acrostic

        After the hurly-burly of six serious posts in November, relax now with the first annual "Emoluments" acrostic puzzle. Click here, print it, and go find a sharp pencil and a functioning eraser. No prizes. Solution will be posted on 1/1/19.

An acrostic comes in two parts—a diagram and a word list. The cells in the diagram are numbered sequentially from 1 to (in this case) 206, reading left-to-right line by line just like a book. When solved, the diagram and the word list will contain exactly the same set of 206 letters, but arranged differently.

The diagram will contain a quote from a certain book, with black cells delineating the words. The first letters of the words in the word list, reading top-to-bottom, will spell out the author and title of the book quoted.

Write in what words you can from the clues given. Transfer each letter into the diagram, using the number under each letter as the cell number. Make a few guesses, such as that plural words end in S (usually), and single-letter words are either A or I (again, usually). After a while, you should start to guess at words in the diagram. Complete these words and transfer the new letters backwards into the word list, using the letter in each cell as a guide to the word they belong to.

Success at acrostics depends on inspired guesswork, and liberal use of the eraser. Have fun.

In case of problems linking to dropbox, here's the link on its own:

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Mike Bara tweaks the color of Mars

        The question of the authentic color of the Martian sky raised its ugly head once more as soon as the first image from the InSight lander was available two days ago. I argued a bit with a blog commenter just yesterday on that very question. Adrian asserted that "They [nasa] actually for years used filters in order to create the illusion that on Mars everything looks a bit red/orange," and I denied it, citing the page made by space artist Don Davis on the question. Don makes the point that the color of a scene is highly dependent on the color of the light that is illuminating it. He shows this photo-pair from a Viking lander:

        On the right is the best rendering of the scene actually on Mars. On the left is the scene as it would look if lit by a sunlit sky on Earth. Don is making the point that the sunlight on Mars is filtered by the rust-colored dust that's always in the atmosphere of Mars.

        The accusation that NASA/JPL deliberately reddens Martian skies derives, I believe, from the very first image from Viking Lander 1 that included the sky. What that image did NOT include was the color reference chart, so the color graders at JPL had to guess. The first-released version had a creamy sky, as I recall. Later, when the color chart was included in some frames, they went back and regraded that first image, and issued a corrected version that was noticeably redder.

        In his book "Postcards from Mars," Jim Bell explains all this, explains that the color of Martian skies varies according to how much dust is up there, and settles on "butterscotch" as the color of a "normal" Martian sky when just an average amount of dust is in the atmosphere.

See--NASA is lying!!!!
        NASA haters love to show this image, from a press conference at JPL on 10 January 2004. That day, the brand new rover was Spirit, and a frame from Spirit's pancam (designed by Jim Bell, by the way) was back-projected behind the speaker panel.

         The haters say this absolutely proves the point. But, you see, it doesn't. The fact that there are human faces in front of this frame makes any discussion of color balance on the original useless. The scene was lit by artificial light—most likely fluorescent, that casts a greenish spectrum on everything—and the whole composite picture was color-balanced to make the flesh tones look natural. Basically, this photo may be the only example of a red herring that is actually blue.

        Now to the interesting part. Mike Bara, in his latest "Tell the Truth Wednesday" vlog, makes exactly the same mistake. He shows this version of the first frame from InSight:

Then he shows us this:

Ta-DAAAAA!!!! SEE, NASA IS LYING!!!!!! BLUE SKY!!!!!!!!!!

        .....but once again, there is human flesh in the foreground, just as there was at the Spirit press conference. This cannot be the truest representation of the Martian sky, for that reason.

Forcing the whites
        Bara went on to even more dishonesty and misunderstanding. He shows us this InSight frame, as an example of what he says is NASA flim-flammery.

        Bara then gets out his favorite image editing software—Microsoft Office Paint, for Gods's sake—and proceeds to show us how he goes about "correcting" JPL's deceptions. He says that Instrument Deployment Arm, over on the right, should be white. The fact that it doesn't appear to be white is proof, to him, that this image is all wrong. So he uses the white balance feature of MS Paint to click on the arm and damn well force it to go white. Behold, the sky goes white too!!

        Well, yes, of course it does. But it's this result that's deceptive, not the one Bara showed before he corrupted it with his little MS Paint click-me thingy. He simply doesn't understand the point that Don Davis explained so well—the subjective color of objects is highly influenced by the color of the light that is illuminating them.

         It seems obvious to me that the objective of planetary color graders should be to show us, as close as possible, what the scene would look like if we were actually standing there looking at it. And that inevitably means taking into account the color of the ambient light. Mike Bara's white sky is just a ridiculous joke.

        Quite apart from all this photographic logic, would somebody please tell me what possible motive NASA/JPL would have for pushing the Martian sky red-wards more than is justified?

Update 20 December: Chris Lawrence reports:
        Bara returned to this topic in his "Tell the Truth Wednesday" vlog yesterday. At 15:50, after spending a few minutes calling NASA liars, he popped up an image of Mars. He says:
15:50 "By the way this is the only Hubble image of Mars ever taken, and as you can see from the limb around the planet the sky quite clearly... this is the airglow limb... is blue and not red, in fact the red is grossly exagerrated in this image, and although Mars is kinda red it's not really really super red, so I think we can kinda pretty much settle on that."
        The image in question is this one taken by Hubble when Mars was near Opposition in May 2016. Far from being the only image ever taken it's one of many images of Mars taken by Hubble going back to 1991, a year after Hubble launched.

        If you click "Fast Facts" on the Mars image you can see details about its construction. It's a colour-composite:

This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the WFC3/UVIS instrument. Several filters were used to sample various wavelengths. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:

- Purple: F275W (275nm)
- Blue: F410M (410nm)
- Green: F502N (502nm)
- Red: F673N (673nm)

        This page explains what you're seeing in these images. Mars' atmosphere does scatter blue light and this gives the blue limb in the composite. Stuart Robbins covered this exact topic in his Exposing Pseudo Astronomy Podcast #113 in June 2014.

Perhaps Bara can move his vlog to the weekend and rebrand it "Making Shit Up Saturday".

Sean David Morton takes his best shot

Which is the odd man out?

  • Lloret de Mar
  • Tossa de Mar
  • Estoril
  • Estoppel
  • L'Estartit
  • Benidorm
  • Cambrils

The answer is Estoppel—all the others are Iberian beach resorts.

         Estoppel is the legal doctrine holding that a respondent in court cannot make a proclamation or statement that conflicts with a statement he/she made earlier in the same case. The doctrine extends to the court itself—in other words, a judge may not contradict himself or herself in court.

        Sean David Morton is using the doctrine of judicial estoppel as the cornerstone of his appeal against his conviction, in September 2017, on 28 counts of fraud. Morton, who has claimed to be "a legal scholar," produced an 18-page affidavit from his prison cell (and according to him, got so stressed in the process that he had a heart attack.)

        I make no claim to legal scholarship, in fact my only contact with the law was an arraignment on a charge of "drunk and disorderly" fifty years ago, after I had barked at a police dog in Kentish Town, London. But, reading Morton's tortured prose, I can't see he has the ghost of a chance with this. Stripped down to essentials, his claim is that the court trying his case made a statement that was in conflict with a statement made by a different court in a different case. I don't think that works as judicial estoppel, but I may be corrected.

        The prior case was against a man called Gordon Hall, who was apparently the original theorist of scamming investors out of $millions. Morton testifies that he paid Hall $6,000 for that information. He now says, in the affidavit, that he is as much a victim of Hall as are the investors whose savings he stole, and that accusing him of fraud is in conflict with the earlier accusation of fraud against Hall. He writes:
"Sean testified he felt he was defrauded by Hall. If Sean is considered culpable and not defrauded in this case then Hall's ... conviction in the other case is invalid because the clients are not defrauded by Hall like the government and judges agreed. This case is barred by the doctrine of absurdity, issue preclusion and judicial or equitable estoppel. Sean contends that this manipulation of the evidence deprived him of due process and rendered his trial fundamentally unfair." (Motion for summary disposition, 21 November 2018, pp. 3-4)
        It stands to reason that there's no explicit or implicit conflict in stating that both Hall and Morton are guilty. We may not have to wait too long for the appeals court to tell Morton "Get back to your jail cell, STFU, and serve out your time" (or words very much to that effect).

Monday, November 26, 2018

Insight on Mars

        Congratulations to the crack teams at JPL. InSight landed dead on time in Elysium Planitia and appears healthy so far. It's the first Mars lander equipped to monitor heat flow from the planet's interior.

        I wonder what Maurice Cotterell thinks about it. He's the crackpot who maintains that Earth-based engineers and scientists can't design a successful Mars landing sequence because they don't understand the influence of centrifugal force. He says he can prove it, but when I looked at his data, guess what? It was outrageously faked.

Update: What we have here is a failure of communication
        Meanwhile, over at Keith Laney's Hidden Mission Forum, the rednecks were predictably peddling their sourest of sour grapes. After congratulating JPL for a brilliant landing, "Vianova" set finger to keyboard and produced this piece of trash text:
"From there the research scientists that have cornered the funding, fail the NASA Good Guys and the public, with bullshit science research,
they aren't looking for -- Current Life -- they are looking only for ancient indicators of life.Those scientists, are NASA UNDERWORLD vampires, they monopolize the funding into nonsense science, geared only to facilitate Planetary Protection Guidelines."
        Vianova clearly didn't think it was worth his time to actually read about the science objectives of InSight. If he had—for example, by reading the press kit (see p.40), he would have understood (if that thing between his ears is capable of understanding) that the science objectives of this mission are

  1. To understand the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets through investigation of the interior structure and processes of Mars.
  2. To determine the present levels of tectonic activity and meteorite-impact activity on Mars.

This mission is not intended or equipped to look for life, either contemporary or ancient.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

More on the craziness of Mike Bara

        Well, this is interesting. Following on from my post of 2nd November, it now turns out that the timeline given by Spaceflight Now may have been wrong on a technical point, but not in the way Mike Bara thinks.

Recap: The issue is that a small parachute was seen floating back to the ocean within a minute of the break-up of Space Shuttle Challenger. What was that parachute carrying? Bara says it was the entire crew cabin; that the crew survived and are now living new lives.

        In my 2nd November piece, I showed this timeline from Spaceflight Now, as refutation of Bara's theory.

        Somebody obviously showed Bara that timeline, because he read it out during yesterday's "Tell The Truth Wednesday" vlog. At 15:34 Bara continued:
"They're saying then that there's a separate system where both the cap and the SRB had a... had a drogue parachute. I question that, because I don't remember that ever being in the design. I'll have to go back and look at the design of the Space Shuttle, um.. Challenger.. the Shuttle SRBs, find out if that was the case. I kind-of don't think that was the case. Logically it doesn't make a lot of sense, because, you  know, the cap is much smaller—the SRBs land in the ocean, and are recovered. They're much easier to find... I don't know how you find... The SRB caps were only about...Oh, six feet across, maybe,  no more than that. Maybe ten feet, I'll have to look that up again, but they weren't very big, and, y'know, finding a cap, a metal cap or something like that, they'd be real cheap and probably easy to replace. Actually it would really surprise me if there was a recovery system for them."
        I decided to dig a little deeper, and went looking for a technical paper on SRB design. What I found was a NASA technical news reference, including this nice exploded view of the SRB components.

        Immediately below the nose cap is a section called the frustum (that's just the word for a truncated cone in solid geometry). The frustum contains instrumentation in addition to all the gubbins required to pull the pilot 'chute, the drogue 'chute, and finally the main parachutes, out of their stowed configuration. Immediately below the frustum is a ring containing the Frustum Location Aids. The text of this technical paper, edited, with emphasis added, reads as follows:
"After burnout, the forward assembly initiates the release of the nose cap and frustum and turns on the recovery aids. ... Location aids are provided for each SRB, frustum/ drogue chutes and main parachutes. These include a transmitter, antenna, strobe/ converter, battery and salt water switch electronics. The location aids are designed for a minimum operating life of 72 hours and when refurbished are considered usable up to 20 times. ...The SRB nose caps and nozzle extensions are not recovered. The recovery crew retrieves the SRBs, frustum/ drogue chutes, and main parachutes."
        So there you have it. The baby parachute was carrying, not the nose cone but the frustum. Bara was right on one point—that the nose caps were not worth recovering. But there's the answer to his question "I don't know how you find [something like that]." By the way, the diameter of the SRBs was 12.17 feet (3.7m.)

Bottom line—it wasn't the crew cabin. The crew all died.

Bara was wrong, but was Spaceflight Now also wrong?
        Maybe, maybe not. That's certainly the implication of that paragraph at T+76.437. But read it again. It says that the nose cap separates and the drogue parachute deploys, which is correct. Then it says "A lone parachute seen emerging from the plume of a SRB." You immediately assume it's the nose cap under that 'chute. But the timeline doesn't actually say that. I think Spaceflight Now is off the hook. Bara is still very much on it.

Update 20 November:
        Just to ram home the point, here's a photo of the actual frustum of STS-51L, after recovery. And here's the undamaged frustum from STS-87, on its way to refurb/re-use.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Robert Morningstar misattributes news images again

James Concannon writes...

        Shame on you, Robert Morningstar. To make a sleazy political point, you posted this on your FB page today:

        Morningstar, you also added this text from "WarriorCode", dateline 4th November 2:18pm:
"[T]he democrats favorite group of people want to leave their sh*thole and turn our country into one too. Democrats have already been moving it in that direction here. Why not more? Right?"
        These images are in fact years old and have nothing to do with the migrant "caravan" now proceeding through Mexico. The most shocking image, of the bloodied policeman, is taken from a news story about student riots in Michoacan dated 16th October 2012. The page is from the news service EMEXQUIS, and the translation of the lead is as follows:
"In a series of operations carried out early monday morning, state and federal authorities detained 176 students from the [..] schools of Cheran, Arteaga and Tiripetio in Michoacan."
        The top photo is taken from a report of a 2016 teachers' union rally in Salina Cruz, 250 miles away from where the caravan is today.

        It is no excuse that thousands of other right-wingers have tweeted and facebooked and instagrammed these horrible images for propaganda purposes. Morningstar says he's a scholar, an intelligence analyst and an investigative journalist. In my opinion, that gives him an obligation to verify that what he re-posts is genuine. It took me about five minutes to ascertain that these images were misattributed—Morningstar should have made the same small effort.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Yes, Mike Bara, you are crazy

         At 45:40 in his latest vlog, Mike Bara says "People are going to say I'm crazy; go right ahead. Tell me I'm crazy."

YES BARA, YOU'RE CRAZY. You're also, in my opinion...

[x] Ignorant
[x] Insensitive
[x] Arrogant
[x] Lacking in human decency
[x] Unoriginal

        The latest evidence of Bara's craziness, ignorance and insensitivity is the utterly nauseating theory that the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger all survived on 28 January 1986, but for unexplained reasons their survival was covered up and they now have new lives. Ugh. I'm not even going to re-post the pictures that are alleged to show them as they are today, this is such a trashy idea.

        Bara bases this theory—not his own idea, by the waynote 1—on the fact that on CBS video a parachute was seen floating toward the ocean very soon after the spacecraft broke up.

        He says he believes Challenger had an undeclared back-up escape system, and that the parachute was in fact carrying the entire crew cabin safely Earthwards.

        Well, he was dead wrong about the cause of the Columbia diasaster, and he's dead wrong about this as well. Set aside, if you like, the ridiculous ideas that NASA would a) Not come clean about the crew escape systems that had been the subject of so much debate in the technical press, and b) Fail to report that the crew were alive. Set aside, if you like, the public funerals of the crew. The fact is, we know what that parachute was carrying and why, and it was definitely not the cabin.

Nose cap
        The two solid rocket boosters (SRBs), designed for reuse and to prevent major damage after they have flamed out and separated, were equipped with a parachute system to slow the rate of descent. At an altitude of about 15,400 feet, a barometric pressure sensor fired three small thrusters that ejected the nose cap of the booster. The nose cap itself floated back to Earth on a small drogue parachute, and what was seen on the CBS video was the nose cap of the right-hand SRB.note 2

        There's another technical consideration, too. It's unthinkable that something as massive as the fully-occupied Shuttle crew cabin could be controlled by a single small parachute. I doubt if anyone ever calculated the mass of that assembly, since it was never designed to be a separate object, but it must surely be many times the mass of the Apollo Command Module, which required three very large 'chutes to bring it home.note 3 Bara claims expertise in aeronautics and he should know these things.

        These days Bara is describing himself as "a space expert." When I was active in the spaceflight specialist press, space experts actually knew their facts.

....and by the way, Mister Space Expert, the mission was not designated STS-25 as you said in your ridiculous vlog. It was STS-51-L.

Thanks again to Chris Lawrence for monitoring

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[1] This, dated July 2015, may be the original
[2] Text partly copied from UPI archives.
[3] There was redundancy. Apollo 15 splashed down successfully with one chute collapsed. Trivia: The third 'chute initially deployed correctly but its risers were damaged by the RCS surplus fuel dump.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Richard Dolan vs. Kerry Cassidy: place your bets

        In July last year, I wrote that Richard Dolan is the "egghead of UFOlogy," and indeed he is. His wikipedia article, complete with a list of his publications, confirms it. His own web site, richarddolanpress, lists more of his analytical essays on paranormal subjects. He completely lacks the borderline hysteria that is a feature of most individuals in the UFO "community", instead taking an academic approach to the subject.

        Kevin Moore is a British researcher and documentary video producer/director who is currently working on a documentary about the murderer Mark Richards, with particular emphasis on Kerry Cassidy's interest in him. Kevin's a good guy in my book. He frames his shots correctly and his audio is intelligible.

To recap the case briefly: 
        On 6th July 1982, Richards conspired with two accomplices to murder Richard Baldwin, a vintage auto dealer who he was on friendly terms with. Evidence included fingerprints on the murder weapons, some of Baldwin's property found in Richards' house and truck, and Baldwin's credit card in Richards' possession. A jury convicted him after four days' deliberation, and he was sentenced to life without parole.

        Since incarceration he has spun elaborate yarns about his own heroism as part of "the secret space program," battling and defeating the alien hordes in outer space, at the helm of exotic space battleships. He has made outrageous and impossible claims of military service, and says his first wife was an extraterrestrial.

        All this has impressed Kerry Cassidy so much that she has made the trip to Vacaville nine times to interview "Captain" Mark Richards, recording long recaps of the interviews on video each time. She apparently believes everything Richards tells her, and regards him as a vital whistleblower revealing information the US Government wishes to keep secret.

        She  has written (blog, 26 September—updated 27 October) that Richards was framed for the crime and is a prisoner of "The Illuminati-Draco planetary governement." What ingrates those guys are, eh? You'd think someone who has saved the planet  from alien invasion on multiple occasions would get some respect.

YouTube preview
        Last Friday Moore vouchsafed us all a preview of his work-in-progress, featuring an edited interview with Richard Dolan. Dolan left us in no doubt that, like Moore (and this blog), he thinks Kerry Cassidy has been utterly bamboozled.
03:03 Dolan: "I don't fault someone, again, for holding to a belief but... but if they're going to persist in excluding evidence because of an ideological blindness then... then yes they need to be taken to account. So I'm very glad that you're doing what you're doing because I believe based on the evidence that I have seen that you... you presented a more than strong case that Mark Richards is... is a deeply, deeply, dangerous, disturbed and sick man ....
04:11 "Now I realize that the other side will say "No, he was framed," but the evidence against him is overwhelming."
One day later, Cassidy reacted, in text on her blog.
KC: "Rich is not the man that I once knew.  What was once a fiery rebel working to expose the secrecy and revealing the role of national security as the proof of the coverup of UFOs in our skies, has now become an apologist for the state, hiding behind a false front masquerading as the voice of paternalistic “reason”.  He has settled for only the most conventional and superficial of explanations for a crime that implicates a top whistleblower who has for the past five years been at the cutting edge of our sector, revealing the very guts of the real truth behind the very craft Rich was so fascinated by as a young man.  And yet strangely, it appears that RD never asks himself the question, can evidence be faked?
"What a coup for the dark side to have recruited this man who once challenged them on every level for their lies and hypocrisy to suddenly join their ranks in pretending that there are no other explanations for this terrible crime than to attack a top whistleblower and officer in the Secret Space Program as being “evil” and “dangerous”?  And why, rather than look deeper into why the state would be well motivated to stop the growing popularity of the Mark Richards disclosures, RD (and others) choose to unquestioningly accept the evidence presented by a man who has no background investigating crimes and little knowledge of the rule by secrecy? Do you not find it the least bit suspicious that in the process RD and Moore are working so hard to discredit me, a journalist who routinely reveals the real truth behind so many of life’s mysteries?"
        It's a mystery where Kerry gets the idea that Dolan is "hiding behind a false front"—in Moore's video he's seen looking relaxed but serious, sitting on a nice soft sofa, presumably in his own home. As to whether she's correct in stating that she "routinely reveals the real truth behind so many of life’s mysteries," that's a matter of opinion. Mine is that she's hopelessly gullible, handcuffed as a journalist by her own paranoia. But I don't think we've heard the last of this.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Richard Hoagland and Keith Laney hate NASA

"Why is NASA lying about a major volcanic eruption on Mars?"

        The above is the headline for next Saturday's edition of Richard Hoagland's blogtalk show "Other Side of Midnight." Meanwhile, over on The Hidden Mission forum, Keith Laney posted as follows:
"Arsia Mons has been erupting since about Sept 20th. So far science hasn't said doodly squat about it. Figures, seems heads are so far up assesnote 1 that they can't even see the f'in Millennium Falcon sitting plainly on top of Ryugu."
These two clowns are so obsessed with NASA hatred that they haven't noticed that:
  1. This is not an eruption
  2. The image comes from ESA's Mars Express, not NASA
  3. Dr. Tanya Harrison, one of the "drivers" of the Mars rover Opportunity (and of course a JPL employee) has commented. I see no evidence that Dr. Harrison's head is anywhere close to her ass.
Harrison's comment was as follows:
"It's not a plume of smoke, but rather water ice clouds condensing out over the summit of the Arsia Mons volcano. We see these clouds hang out over the summit of Arsia for weeks at a time during this time of year, every year."
        Dr. Harrison is trained in planetary science. Neither Hoagland nor Laney has any such training, yet they think they know better just from having a look at a rather intriguing image. The guest on next Saturday's blogtalk show (if it happens—Hoagland's technical skills have been failing again lately) is John Brandenburg. Brandenburg has no expertise in this area either—he's a plasma physicist with very strange ideas about Xenon isotope ratios. That show may plumb new depths of NASA-hating ignorance. I will not be listening.

        P.S. The image above is just one of a whole series from the Mars Express Webcam. Check 'em out.

Update 1:
        This page from MSSS dated 20 September 2005 ascribes these seasonal plumes to dust rather than vapor. I'm not qualified to arbitrate between Tanya Harrison and her former employer—the point is, it ain't an eruption.

Update 2:
        Trekker provides this excellent update, direct from ESA. I don't think Keith Laney will be whining about science saying doodly squat any more.

Update 3:
        OSOM was aborted after about six minutes due to technical problems. Hoagland said he had no music and no commercials. "You should never do an amateur program, ever."note 2 It's rescheduled for Sunday night.

Update 4:
        The show completed on Sunday night. It's available (for a limited time, I think) at this link.

Update 5:
        Appearing on the News segment of Coast to Coast AM Oct. 30th, Mike Bara incorrectly stated that the plume's origin was the crater, and said "definitely not water vapor." Isn't it time C2C started calling in somebody who knows WTF he's talking about?

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[1] Juvenile obscenity is a standard feature of Keith's forum. The members often behave like nasty little schoolboys.

[2] This will bring a smile to the faces of those who remember his radio shows from 2015/16. The squeaking chair, the ringing phone, the barking dog....

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sean David Morton: heart attack

This from Sean David Morton's blog on Project Camelot:
"Under the massive stress of finally getting my Appellate Brief in, last Thursday night I suffered a mito cardiac infarction, basically a mild stroke. My heart was racing, a massive stabbing headache, bulging eyes and my left arm and hand went numb. I asked to go to the hospital and was told that I was WELCOME to wait for the DOCTOR to come HERE at 0600 on MONDAY. So I may just die in here, and nobody would care." (emph. added)
        So it seems Morton is as error-prone on medical matters as he is on finance. He means a myocardial infarction, not a mito-. And it isn't a stroke, although a stroke can be one of the worst collateral outcomes. It's a common or garden heart attack, and as a 60-year-old grossly overweight American male, it's not at all a surprise, or shouldn't be. However, he's right to be concerned. He needs angioplasty, and delaying it is extremely unwise, possibly fatal.

There's more:
"It also appears that TIME and NEWSWEEK are going to do stories on our situation and what has been done to us…but I can’t trust them to do anything but amp up the smear and describe us as “DANGEROUS DISSIDENTS” and/or “Crazy SOVEREIGN CITIZENS and TAX PROTESTORS” NONE of which we are or have EVER BEEN! Again, I NEVER taught or spoke about TAXES."
        Excuse me, Sean baby, but what exactly were you lecturing about on the 2016 Conspira-Sea cruise? You remember the one—it was that time when you and your wife were arrested as soon as you stepped off the cruise ship.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Mike Bara bitch-slaps Jimmy Church

        Jimmy Church is the radio chat-host who runs Fade to Black and sometimes comes out of the bull-pen to substitute-pitch for George Noory on Coast to Coast AM.  Back in June 2016 I commented that I rather like Jimmy—he's a lot better than Noory, anyway.

        Mike Bara's guested on FtB Radio more times than I can easily remember—I've certainly blogged about three or four of them. I definitely blogged when, in February 2015, Mike was on C2C-AM with Jimmy subbing as host. That was when Bara said "I’ve  gotten to the point now where I’ve completely blocked out the people that attack me." Those two boys were very chummy, and not just on the air either. Here they are cuddling up at the Conscious Life Expo that same year—same month, in fact. The fat guy on the left is Tom Danheiser, C2C-AM line producer.

        Here's another, not sure when this was but Jimmy seems the worse for...  wear? This time the guy on the left is Jason Martell, another populariser of ridiculously false information like Bara.

« Nothing turns to hate so bitter as what once was love »
--Laurell Hamilton, paranormal novelist

        Now, sad to say, the hugs have turned to insults. It started on 14th September, with Bara tweeting "If you believe... [insert six standard conspiracy topics]... You might be an imbecile. You might also be a candidate for a guest spot on the Jimmy Church show." 15 days later Bara called Church "a small-time drunk." In answer to Larry Fletcher, he tweeted that he hadn't talked to JC since june, and "I will never speak to him again."

        And yesterday the feud got even hotter.

        Karen McIntyre responded "Get off of my tweet, Mike. Not the best way for you to represent yourself and it doesn't sit well here." Predictably, Bara's rejoinder was "Am I supposed to give a shit?"

        If anybody knows what this bitchery is all about, please let me know. I suspect it's the Gaia "alien mummy" story, but that's just a guess. Certainly that was one of the topics listed in the 14th September tweetery.

Thanks to Chris Lawrence for monitoring the tweetosphere

Kerry Cassidy: Interview Nine

        Kerry Cassidy's interminable videos and other documents generally just make me roll my eyes (see, for example, this and this). But yesterday she came up with some genuinely interesting information: female prison visitors to the California Department of Corrections are forbidden to wear underwired bras. Fascinating... what are they worried about? Weaponry? "I've got a Wonderbra here and I'm not afraid to use it!"

        This TITillating TITbit arose because apparently Cassidy inadvertently violated the dress code on her ninth visit to Vacaville to interview "Captain" Mark Richards. The screws made her go away and find a better (less revealing?) top.

        Her web page covering this event describes Richards as "a political prisoner in the War of Worlds going on here on Planet Earth."  Previously she's claimed that he's a prisoner of the Illuminati-Draco planetary government. The reality is that he's a murderer sentenced to Life without parole because of "special circumstances" (the murder involved a hired assassin and was motivated by financial gain and a burglary plan.)

        You've got to hand it to Kerry—she's nothing if not persistent. Her first Richards interview was November 2013, and her thirst for his bullshitwar stories seems insatiable. Vacaville is between Vallejo and Sacramento, and I believe Cassidy lives in the Malibu area, so it's quite a trek for her. The screws don't let her take her beloved camcorder into the jail, so the format for these things on Project Scamalot—sorry, Camelot—has been Kerry recalling as much detail as she can immediately after her visit, talking into the cam. On this occasion, however, she added her notes in text form, and here are a few highlights:

Galactic warfare
 *    Richards still (falsely) claims the rank of US Navy Captain, but now says he no longer reports to Admiral Inman, instead reporting to "a division of the military that he is not at liberty to disclose." That must come as a relief to Inman himself, who retired in 1982 (the same year Richards was jailed) and is now 87 years old.

 *    There are at least 12 robotic spaceships in Earth orbit, and on four asteroids, defending us against alien invasion. These seem to be the property of the Pleiadians, who wear the white hats in this updated horse opera..

*     The alien wars are intensifying. The Draco, Reptoids and Greys have eaten so many human beings in South America and Africa that they are looking to expand their territory. The devastating wildfires in Northern California last year were part of that. On the other hand our alien allies, the Raptors and Mantids, recently destroyed a Draco moon. Yay!!! The battle has moved to the Orion galaxy (galaxy? Does he mean constellation?)

        What I wonder is this: Is there anything this fraudster could say that Kerry Cassidy would question? She calls herself an investigative journalist, those people are supposed to be good at sniffing out bullshit, aren't they?

Update 14th October
        Geoff Reed, part of Kevin Moore's crew making a video documentary about Richards, posted the following on Kerry Cassidy's FB page:
"Let me clear up some of the more common lies about Mark Richards. First off he graduated from high school in 1972. For the next 4 years he attended Dominican college in San Rafael. That brings us to 1976. We have photos of him on the basketball team and interviewed one of his college buddies and team mate. Soldiers were being pulled out of Viet Nam in 1972. People were not being sent in they were being sent home and that took years to pull everyone out. That war officially ended in 1975. I know several vets and they are not proud of what they did nor do they brag about it. Jo Ann claims he went in the air force first and became an officer. That is a minimum 8 years after re-enlisting for another 4 years to hopefully become an officer. That brings us to 1984.Then she says he went in the navy and also became an officer. That would be another minimum 8 years after re-enlisting for another 4 years to hopefully become an officer again and that would bring us to 1992. The problem here is he has been incarcerated since 1982. He was too young for Viet Nam. His ex-wife says he never went and was never in the military. Its very simple and basic arithmetic. He has never served in any branch of any military. Richards and his wife and KC have so many lies circulating they cannot keep track of all of them. By the way, Mark Richards does not have any kids. Jo Ann states he started writing his SSP fiction for his grand kids in 1997. He had no kids at that time and has no kids of his own to this very day. How the hell could he have grand kids?? I have been with Kevin Moore last month filming our documentary in Marin county and researching our information at the Marin County Civic Center. I must say it was very surreal retracing the footsteps of these murderers and filming what they did. We also have every single piece of paperwork and documents involved in this case. By Mark Richards's own admission his finger prints are all over the crime scenes. Including on the murder weapons and guns he stole from Richard Baldwin's house that were recovered at Mark Richards's home when he was arrested. Why were the wheels to Richard Baldwin's safe found in the bed of Mark Richards's truck? He also admitted to lying to the detectives several times when he was arrested and brought in for questioning. Kerry maintains he was off planet when all of these events took place. Then why by his own admission are his finger prints on every shred of evidence? Why is the murder victim Richard Baldwin's blood in Mark's boat? This was a murder for finical gain and a very tragic shame. They brutally and savagely murdered Mark Richards's best friend (Richard Baldwin) for what amounted to $2000 dollars, a large bag of weed and some guns and credit cards. Kerry maintains we are interviewing the actual killers. Yes thats true. Mark refuses to be interviewed so we will use his willful interview done by detectives working on the case. Mark is one of the two actual killers. Mark could have lawyered up and remained silent but he did not want to do that. He welcomed being interviewed. He was not coerced in any way. The interviews we have and are still getting are from people that were actually there when this tragedy took place. Jo Anne Richards claims these people are all Mark's enemies. His wife at the time, his crime partner that committed this horrible murder and people that knew him or worked for him. She also claims Richard Baldwin was cremated. Thats another lie and we have the paperwork to prove it. We spent a few days at the cemetery. Mark Richards will spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison. He will die there. The only thing that stopped him from receiving the death penalty was he had no criminal record. Our documentary will show and prove that Mark Richards is a pathological liar. He is not capable of ever telling the truth. He lacks empathy as all psychopaths do. R.I.P. Richard Alexander Baldwin. Your good name and memory will soon be restored."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Kerry Cassidy: A cunning stunt

        I just caught up with an hour-long video that Kerry Cassidy recorded on the 17th, more than a week ago. It was a real classic—a stunt in the sense that it had the theatricality Cassidy is famous for, and cunning because it enabled her to pose as being in possession of facts that nobody else is privy to. That's her schtick, and her image of herself.

        She informed us that the devastating fires that hit Northern California a year ago were "cover" for an all-out battle with alien forces, and she knew about this from interviewing "Captain" Mark Richards. Richards is perhaps her favorite whistleblower, and she goes to considerable trouble to interview him. Why? Because Richards is a convicted murderer and is languishing in Vacaville State prison. He's not captain of anything, either— just a humble house remodeler. Why Kerry Cassidy believes his yarns is anybody's guess.

        She spent quite a long time wringing her metaphorical hands over her treatment by Google/YouTube (she says they're bent on stopping her from making a living, see this if you're interested). Then finally she got down to the serious business of claiming to be the only person to report the truth.
18:05: "Nobody else knows this story —I mean, all these other journalists out there are just.. they've got no idea. I'm sorry, you know, but it's...  Now, I have back-channel information, I'm not going to reveal my source, but I've seen very concrete information that substantiates what I'm telling you.  On top of it, Simon Parkes and I both agree—I got a download last night before my interview with him, that actually said that they... that there are craft near the Sun that were affecting the Sun, supposedly, to actually create ...or er... stop a certain frequency from hitting the Earth. And that this would be photographed by all the observatories, not just one, and that that's why the so-called [air-quotes] FBI was brought in to shut down the one in New Mexico, but it's not the only one—there's seven of them. So don't go reading the press. They're going to lie to you. If their mouths are moving they're lying.  They work for the State. The Dark State. And if Trump hasn't made it clear that he and the press do not agree.. Heh! And therefore, what can you say about Trump? He's trying to work for the Light at this time." 
        It must be a treat to be Kerry Cassidy. She says she's an investigative journalist, but sees no obligation to check the stories she hears, or merely concocts. When she said seven solar observatories were shut down, her mouth was moving and she was lying. It's simply not true. As we know, the problem at the Sunspot observatory was a janitor with a penchant for kiddie porn. Alien spaceships near the sun my ass. I think Kerry's "back channel" is the voices in her head.

        So who, I hear you ask, is Simon Parkes? Is he a more reliable source than K. Cassidy? Er... I don't think so. Here's his self-description:
"[A] life long experiencer of aliens, shadow people, elementals and ufo's, these include Mantid (Mantis) beings, Draconis Reptilian, Feline, small and tall Grey creatures, Crystalline beings and other creatures that can't be identified."
I rest my case. These people are crazy.

Update 2nd October:
        Kerry is annoyed about this video report by Kevin Moore, who has just finished investigating "Captain" Mark Richards and declares unequivocally that Richards is a fraud. In a blogpost dated 26th September, Kerry writes that Kevin Moore is obviously mind-controlled, and offers this defense of her imprisoned hero:
"Mark Richards was working for the Secret Space Program at the time of the murder.  He was and still is a Captain in the Navy reporting to Bobby Ray Inman. note 1 He is imprisoned by the Illuminati-Draco run planetary government at this time.  It is notable that Simon Parkes, a former British counselor has said even recently that it is highly likely that he will be pardoned once the indictments and arrests come through as part of Trump’s drive to “drain the swamp”. ::::
Mark Richards spent many years as a Captain of a “starship enterprise” type vehicle, part of the Orion class vehicles owned by the Secret Space Program." (emph. added)
My amateur diagnosis:
Kerry Cassidy - paranoid schizophrenic
Simon Parkes - ditto
Mark Richards - criminal fantasist, outright fraud
Kevin Moore - honest fellow, about half-and-half amused and appalled by what he's discovered

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[1] Inman retired in 1982, the same year that Mark Richards was jailed. Inman is now 87 years old.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Robert Morningstar in denial

James Concannon writes...

        Robert Morningstar describes himself as  "a specialist in photo interpretation, geometric analysis and computer imaging." Considering how many times he has blundered in the field of photo interpretation, that really is the joke of the decade.

        His latest exhibit is the exact same flim-flam as Mike Bara put on page 117 of Hidden Agenda and page 85 of AA & JFK. It's the LRO image of landslips down the rim of crater Marius, turned upside down and called a "crystal city on the Moon."

        In this case Morningstar adds to the dishonesty by a) Claiming to have discovered it (two years before LRO was in orbit), and b) Identifying it as an Apollo image. He showed this travesty on a recent edition of Richard Hoagland's OSOM blogtalk, and I understand Hoagland claimed he was the discoverer. Apparently they argued for some time over whose balderdash this was.

        Well, last week I asked AM* what the Apollo catalog number of this shot was, telling him that he was mistaken. His answer was to challenge me to provide the cat# of the LRO frame. I couldn't do thatnote 1, but I referred him to the ASU release of the LRO strip.

His response:
"That's malarkey... There's no reemblance [sic] at all. No realtionship [sic]... Not the same place, not the same region not the same forms at all. Pure Balderdash! ... You crash. -> M*."
...and later...
"You are as "blind as a bat" ... Here is the phot I published... They share nothing in kind, complete opposite. Yuu show flats streams of lunar material running along the gorund. This photo of The Crystal City shows upright sprires and raised substructures supporting them. And he shadows cast by the structures prove that hey are upright spires lot lava streams spreading in flat rivulets inside Marius Crater. You are a bogus astronomer. -> M*"
        Well, he's right about the "bogus astronomer" part—I've never claimed astronomy credentials. However, I seem to be more talented at computer imaging than he is, so it took me just a few minutes to post a direct comparison:

        Since he showed no sign of being convinced by that, I went a step further, deriving the entire frame instead of just one section of it.

Reload the page or click on the image if the GIF animation cycle has stopped.

        Is that going to convince this "civilian intelligence analyst"? Probably not—just like Mike Bara, the words "I was wrong" are not in his vocabulary.

        There's one possible mitigating factor. AM*'s version of the dishonest flip is such horrible quality that it's likely he didn't actually do the flipping himself, just claimed credit for someone else's dishonesty.

Update 27 Sept:
        To nobody's surprise, Morningstar has been tongue-tied (keyboard-tied?) on this subject ever since I posted the GIF animation. Just cannot bring himself to type those magic words "OK, looks like I was wrong."

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[1] Thanks to OneBigMonkey for finding what I could not. It's part of Narrow Angle Camera strip M109569228L, acquired in October 2009.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Richard Hoagland: An unpopular opinion


       Clyde Lewis runs a five-days-a-week radio show called Ground Zero. "A powerful voice in parapolitical and paranormal news and commentary," he says about himself. Today his topic was the once-mysterious 11-day closure of the Sunspot Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak in New Mexico. One of his guests was the former museum curator Richard Hoagland, who is also a former radio host of sorts (his weekend-only after-midnight show is now on BlogTalkRadio.)

        The observatory shutdown, which was the subject of delirious speculation by the usual paranormal suspects, turned out to be connected with an FBI investigation of an (as yet unnamed) janitor on the site. In an affidavit, an FBI agent wrote that she was looking at the "activities of an individual who was utilizing the wireless internet service of the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, New Mexico, to download and distribute child pornography." The raid was apparently heavy-handed, involving dozens of agents and a Black Hawk helicopter. The janitor has not yet been arrested or charged with an offence, but cell phones, laptops, an iPad, a hard drive and several thumb drives have been removed from his home.

        On the Ground Zero show today, Hoagland expressed doubt that we are being told the true story. He still thinks alien intelligences could be involved. This is what was said, verbatim:
RCH: "Human nature is human nature. Porn exists because people want it. There's a market and a customer. Is it illegal? See, it's illegal to send it because then you have to put children in the position of—you know, all that. But exchanging images from websites, downloading on your computer, is that illegal?
CL: "There's an issue...I guess you'd say, [?] of exchanging. The problem I have with this is that..."
RCH: "It didn't say he exchanged, it says he was just downloading. It's like freedom of the press. You look at stuff."
CL: "Right."
RCH: "First Amendment!"
CL: "Right."
RCH: "Why make a federal case of it? Why would you make a federal case when the FBI is not investigating Kavanaugh... and this whole, you know,.. meshugga thing in Washington... Why would you dispatch a team of FBI agents and a Black Hawk to land in the most remote observatory in the United States, to look for a janitor who's looking at PORN????"
        Hoagland's opinion that child pornography is protected by the First Amendment is not likely to endear him to his intended audience. Neither is it correct.  Possession, manufacturing, distribution, or "access with intent to view" of pornography portraying minors are all federal crimes. The answer to Hoagland's question "why make a federal case of it?" is that the crime is assumed to cross State lines.  People are already tweeting very negatively, and I don't think we've heard the last of this.

source: NPR