Friday, April 20, 2018

Ten years of this blog

         Ten years have passed since this blog made its entrance into the blogosphere with "Profit from Fantasy," announcing itself as a place where comments on the book Dark Mission by Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara could find a home. The book had its own blog, started on 18th August 2007, but James Oberg and I very soon noticed that Bara, as blog moderator, generally refused to allow negative comments to appear.

        The first four posts on this blog had page views well under 100, and no comments at all. The 10th post, however, "Data's Head image proved fraudulent," set a page view record of 11,117 that stands to this day. The all-time record number of comments is 186, for "Mike Bara sees glass over Picard" on 19th October 2012. The least popular post ever, with only 51 page views, was "The fun is about to begin" on 5th September 2010. Don't ask me why—that's a puzzle.

        The "official" Dark Mission blog expired on the last day of 2009, but this blog continued its mission to mock pseudoscience, with a wider remit than just one book. Most often cited words and expressions over the years have been coast-to-coast am, elenin, phobos, hyperdimensional, ziggurat, facebook, accutron. My targets, in addition to Hoagland & Bara, have been many of the darlings of late-night radio: Ken Johnston, Judy Wood, Kerry Cassidy, John Brandenburg, Robert Morningstar, Steve Quayle, and latterly the convicted felon Sean David Morton.

        There's no doubt that interest in this blog is waning somewhat: of the 15 posts this year, none has made it to the 1,000 page view level of interest. Just a couple of years ago, 2,000 was a common number. I'm not discouraged but I will be looking hard for fresh topics because I suspect the sag in popularity is due to readers feeling that they've read it all before.

        I'd like to make a "Hall of Fame" list of all the people who have supported me over these ten years with their encouragement, information, research, and intelligent comments—but I'm afraid if I did that I'd offend somebody by omitting their name. However, a few stand-outs really must be acknowledged:

James Oberg: Joint founder of the blog and vital resource on space history, especially Russian
James Concannon: A former colleague who has probably written more for the blog than anyone other than myself, and who inhabits Faceboo (whereas I almost never do).
Stuart Robbins Ph.D: An actual working astronomer who has his own blog and cringes right along with me and Concannon when the pseudoscientists make their awful mistakes. If ever I make a slip-up when writing this blog, I'll hear about it from Stuart.
Derek Eunson, Ph.D: Another real working scientist, in the field of design engineering, and not a man to mince words when it comes to scorn for pseudoscience. Derek is now teaching in China, but keeping in touch.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Kerry Cassidy falls foul of Youtube's ToS

Today this message appeared on The Project Camelot page:
"I have been banned from Live Broadcasting on my main youtube channel because of a recent interview regarding FALSE FLAGS WORLDWIDE with Ole Dammegard and Dr. James Fetzer!  This is politically motivated and violates my rights as a journalist to freedom of the press and free speech!!  Please support our work.  My income has been severely affected by this ban!"
        Cassidy went on to accuse "The deep totalitarian New World Order" of being behind the ban. I'm not sure what she means by that. As we know all too well, Youtube is now Google, an American multinational technology company based in Mountain View. Google may wish it could achieve world domination, but it's certainly not there yet.

        Well, look, I'm not much in favor of gagging people with weird opinions, but I don't have much sympathy with Kerry Cassidy. She claims the privileges of a journalist without being willing to submit to the discipline of the profession. She never cross-checks rumors that come her way, she routinely expounds outrageous opinions as if they were facts, and as far as I know she has never responded coherently to criticism, still less withdrawn a proposition when she was informed that it was mendacious. In my opinion she's not a journalist at all, just a narcissistic commentator with some superficial command of internet communications.

        I tried to listen to the Dammegard/Fetzer interview but I couldn't stand it. It was just standard Kerry Cassidy paranoia turned up a few notches. To her, all such events as school shootings and random terrorist-style attacks have to be false flags. She pays absolutely no attention to the fact that the sinister behind-the-scenes manipulators of these things never seem to see the supposed benefits from their activities. Prime examples would be: No confiscation of privately-held firearms despite numerous school and concert shootings; No deportation of Muslims from France despite at least two horrific mass murders in Paris.note 1

        Cassidy did not detail exactly what the complaint against her alleges, but I surmise that it would have been similar to a 3rd April allegation of Hateful or abusive content, this one filed against a previous interview with James Fetzer, with very similar content. That complaint alleged as follows:
"This entire video promotes a fringe person who vehemently promotes the idea that no one was killed during school shooting and other events. By going through bogus 'analysis' and repeatedly claiming no one died, it targets vulnerable individuals, is bullying of those individuals  and anyone who supports them, and the interviewee through his statements has led to others' violence against school shooting victims and their supporters."

       As it happens, that one did not succeed, and the video is still up. Kerry Cassidy can scream all she wants about totalitarian forces abrogating her rights, but the simple fact is that Youtube has announced Terms of Service and reserves the right to ban, partly or wholly, any violators. A vile video posted by Alex Jones has recently suffered the same fate.note 2 If Cassidy is truly suffering financially from the ban I can only suggest she gets a job retrieving shopping carts at her local supermarket, and quits boring us all with interminable paranoid rants.

This just in:
Three of the Sandy Hook parents have filed a $1m lawsuit against Alex Jones. BRAVO!!!!

Thanks to Stuart Robbins for information

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[1] In a new video today (19th April), Cassidy does in fact address this point in her oblique way, and cites the Patriot Act as being the contrived outcome of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. That cuts no ice with me because I do not accept, and never will accept, that any part of the US Government planned and executed the destruction of those towers.

[2] The Infowars video made the exact same accusation about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which claimed 17 lives. David Z. Morris, writing in Fortune magazine, explained:
"These strikes, warnings, and punishments, then, are ultimately motivated by YouTube’s desire to reassure the advertisers that make them money. That reality, however, seems lost on Jones and InfoWars, who are spinning their reprimand as yet another conspiracy. CNN says it referred three other InfoWars videos to YouTube for review, which Jones has characterized as CNN “calling to have a competing news organization shut down,” and described as part of a “globalist conspiracy.” That framing supports InfoWars’ broader thesis that it is uncovering truths being repressed by the “mainstream media,” rather than simply slandering teenagers who witnessed a mass murder as a way to sell overpriced dietary supplements."

Friday, April 6, 2018

Sean David Morton calls in from the slammer

        Well, guess who was on the phone call-in line to Strange Universe radio yesterday. A clue: The call was interrupted by an official voice announcing "This call is from a federal prison." Yes, indeed, it was Mr. Scamalot himself, Sean David Morton, banged up for six years starting last September. Sean and his wife Melissa defrauded around 100 customers of $6 million between 2006 and 2007. According to the SEC, only a fraction of the money received by Morton went into foreign exchange trading accounts and the rest was placed in shell companies run by Morton and his wife. They also scored $480,323 off the IRA [oops, IRS...] with an entirely fraudulent 2008 tax filing.

        Far from being in any way penitent, in his 15-minute phone call SDM maintained that a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court basically negated the entire tax structure of the USADo you believe that? and thus vindicated he and Melissa. He said he's lost 50lb and is still in business.
10:35 "I've got lines of people every day in the er... you know, in the whole facility. Because I started to do readings for people, I finally got a deck of lightweight Tarot cards. I'm still waiting for somebody to send me a decent book of. er.. of, er.. er, of a.. a set of talk Tarot cards... that actully come with the... the talk book. Ahh... that's what I need to complete the readings. I started getting a reputation as being... you know, I mean, this is a reading I usually charge like $250-300-400 for on the outside. You know, here if I get a bag of granola and [...] some power bars I'm lucky."
        His "readings" apparently include a prediction that California will break into two separate states, and that the "caravan" of Central American refugees marching through Mexico will cause havoc at the US/Mexico border. note 1

        I suppose Morton's ridiculous optimism is something to be treasured. Just one month before his April 4 trial, he was telling Kerry Cassidy that the charges against him were certain to be dropped because he is "not a 14th Amendment citizen," whatever that means. Even now he's in the pokey, he seems to be looking on the bright side.
11:55 "There's a lot of really interesting guys. We've got one guy who won five superbowls as a running back, another guy was former head of HBO... my bunky is the great grandson of Calvin Coolidge. It's all tragedy, man."

Thanks to UFO Watchdog for the audio.

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[1] According to this report, the caravan is much reduced and will not attempt to reach the international border.
Update 30 April: In fact, several hundred migrants from Central America have made it to the Tijuana-San Ysidro border crossing. None has yet been admitted or even processed. CBP says that once their backlog has been cleared, they will be split into small groups for processing, since the border facility has limited room. That does not sound like havoc to me (and California seems to be still in one piece).

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Farewell to the wacky-accy

        At the half-hour mark during yesterday's rather turgid Other Side Of Midnight, Richard Hoagland drew the attention of his listeners (all four of them, perhaps) to a new feature of the show's website.

        Not very original, I hear you say. Right, and I seriously doubt that he's going to see the floods of $$$ that are in his dreams. OSOM "members" are already paying $9.95 a month for a show that often fails to get on the air (although to be fair, he's had a run of good luck lately—nine more-or-less glitch-free shows on the trot.) But you had to laugh when he came up with one very good reason for the new Donate button:
32:45 "My Accutron broke. I've used it for years—I made a mistake the other day and dropped  the damn thing on a hardwood floor. It obviously has incredible fine wires. It broke. To send it out to specialists who do Accutron reconstruction—surgery, whatever—is going to require several hundred dollars. To get a new one is going to require something like a thousand bucks. So we need funds...."
        Now, it's possible that I've been April-fooled, but I'm assuming that was genuine, and he's been deprived of what he once called "a technology that can save the world." Last night he blathered on about wanting to put the wacky-accy in an orgone accumulator, to see what that does to the so-called "torsion field." Two bits of ridiculous pseudoscience, one inside the other—perhaps they'd cancel each other's nuttiness out and provide something of actual value (but I doubt it.) However, we'll never know now.

        There's a lovely irony in this. In the highly unlikely event that Hoagland does raise lots of lolly—and if he spends it on the wacky-accy rather than Las Vegas crap tables—you can bet your bottom dollar he'd never be able to repeat the bizarre results he's already "published." The plain fact is that he didn't just break it, it's been broken all along. That's why it shows such wild frequency swings even in the absence of any eclipse or transit. It's in the data.

        In case anybody reading this has no clue what "The Accutron" is, here's a briefing from the Rational Wikipedia, and here's Stuart Robbins of Exposing Pseudoastronomy critiquing Hoagland's protocol. Also, thanks to blogspot's labelling system, you can click on the label hoagland Accutron nonsense at the foot of this post, and bring up everything I've ever written about that damn wristwatch. WARNING: It's a lot. 23 posts.

        Chris L found this long discussion from October 2012. Plenty of good points made, and some good fun Hoagland-bashing.

Thanks to Stuart Robbins for the audio