Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 31

The Fifth Mass Extinction Long Ago
Today, let's take a look at the most abundant life form, not only on the land, in the air, and in oceans, but also on and in us.

But let's do so in the context of their having survived five previous mass extinctions of life on Earth, and their role in the current anthropogenic sixth mass extinction now ongoing (The Evolution of Anthropogenic Extinction by Catastrophe).

There are several hypotheses and theories about how life started on the planet Earth.

These hypotheses and theories break down into two main categories: 1) life evolved on the Earth, or 2) life came from space in the form of microbes that were on debris that impacted the Earth's atmosphere, land surface, and/or waters --as meteorites.

Either way, it happened a long time ago, because several indications of microbial life that is some 3.8 billion years old have been written about:
"Microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS) result from the response of microbial mats to physical sediment dynamics. MISS are cosmopolitan and found in many modern environments, including shelves, tidal flats, lagoons, riverine shores, lakes, interdune areas, and sabkhas. The structures record highly diverse communities of microbial mats and have been reported from numerous intervals in the geological record up to 3.2 billion years (Ga) old. This contribution describes a suite of MISS from some of the oldest well-preserved sedimentary rocks in the geological record, the early Archean (ca. 3.48 Ga) Dresser Formation, Western Australia." - Nora Noffke, Daniel Christian, David Wacey, and Robert M. Hazen: "Microbially Induced Sedimentary Structures Recording an Ancient Ecosystem in the ca. 3.48 Billion-Year-Old Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia"
(ASTROBIOLOGY, Volume 13 Number 12 @ 1103, 2013). Since the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old, those MISS show cosmopolitan (distributed globally) microbial community life existing about 1.06 billion years after the Earth's formation.

These communities of microbes can be far more sophisticated than we would expect (see video at bottom of Hypothesis: How Toxins of Power Are Neutralized or Removed).

And, they are far more influential than we would expect (see e.g. The Human Microbiome Congress, On The New Meaning of "Human" - 2).

As a matter of fact, regular readers know we have contemplated their influence on the governments of civilization in one series (see e.g. The Germ Theory of Government through The Germ Theory of Government - 9).

And we have contemplated the impact of the previous mass extinctions on them, from their morphing into pathogens to their becoming dormant, (like in science fiction movies where humans are put in a type of stasis), and even their conversion back from pathogens into a symbiont once again (see e.g. Are Microbes The Origin of PTSD? , Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 16, Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen -- 2).

Recently, we took a look at some of the microbes that have not maintained a mutualistic or symbiotic vibe through all of this mass-extinction experience.

A small percentage became pathogens with strangely brilliant capabilities beyond the capabilities of "25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders" (The Germ Theory - of Government - 9, quoting Dr. Robert Sapolsky).

Imagine if we could rehabilitate them and have them instead do beneficial brain surgery!

The rehabilitation of pathogens has been shown to be realistic, as well as having happened multiple times in history (Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen -- 2).

But our warmongering cultural amygdala leads us to the hideous practice of making war with everything, including the crucial microbial world:
For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.

“I would like to lose the language of warfare,” said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.”

This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers.
(Microbial Garden). The vast majority of microbes are helpful to the point of being absolutely necessary to our existence and survival, yet we make war on them like we make war on everything.

We are too suicidal as a society and as a civilization [Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3].

Spread the word.

Make peace with your microbes (they like beer).

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Queens of Stalingrad - 7

Secretary of the Surveillance State
Are the democrats taking up the cause of the Stasi ("One of its main tasks was spying on the population")?

This status quo or worse -backwards- bureaucrat supports the military NSA spying on all Americans and any other people of the world it wants to.

Got fascism?

One wonders why --since he is not running, as far as we know, in the t-bagger infested Republican primaries.

The only take-away from his calling whistleblower Ed Snowden a "coward and a traitor" for exposing the military government's spying on all Americans all of the time (in a manner that the fascist Stasi would have drooled over) is that power corrupts (About Toxins Of Power).

He has morphed and atrophied from a Vietnam era whistleblower who once did the same thing while in uniform:
After returning to the United States, Kerry joined the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). Then numbering about 20,000, VVAW was considered by some (including the administration of President Richard Nixon) to be an effective, if controversial, component of the antiwar movement. Kerry participated in the "Winter Soldier Investigation" conducted by VVAW of U.S. atrocities in Vietnam, and he appears in a film by that name that documents the investigation. According to Nixon Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, "I
You've come a long way Bybee
didn't approve of what he did, but I understood the protesters quite well", and he declined two requests from the Navy to court martial Reserve Lieutenant Kerry over his antiwar activity.

On April 22, 1971, Kerry became the first Vietnam veteran to testify before Congress about the war, when he appeared before a Senate committee hearing on proposals relating to ending the war. He was still a member of the United States Navy Reserve, holding the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade.

The day after this testimony, Kerry participated in a demonstration with thousands of other veterans in which he and other veterans threw their medals and ribbons over a fence erected at the front steps of the United States Capitol building to dramatize their opposition to the war. Jack Smith, a Marine, read a statement explaining why the veterans were returning their military awards to the government.
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). Yes indeed, new circuitry has replaced the old whistleblower circuitry in his cultural amygdala, as the nation's leadership degenerates across the board (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala - 4).

He once protested, as he should have, that millions of civilian Vietnamese where killed or maimed by those destroying them in order to save them:
The title is taken from an order given to the U.S. forces who slaughtered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the notorious My Lai massacre of 1968. Drawing on interviews in Vietnam and a trove of previously unknown U.S. government documents — including internal military investigations of alleged war crimes in Vietnam — Turse argues that U.S. atrocities in Vietnam were not just isolated incidents, but "the inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military."
Americans have long been taught that events such as the notorious My Lai massacre were isolated incidents in the Vietnam War, carried out by "a few bad apples." But as award‑winning journalist and historian Nick Turse demonstrates in this groundbreaking investigation, violence against Vietnamese noncombatants was not at all exceptional during the conflict. Rather, it was pervasive and systematic, the predictable consequence of orders to "kill anything that moves."

Drawing on more than a decade of research in secret Pentagon files and extensive interviews with American veterans and Vietnamese survivors, Turse reveals for the first time how official policies resulted in millions of innocent civilians killed and wounded. In shocking detail, he lays out the workings of a military machine that made crimes in almost every major American combat unit all but inevitable.
(The Virgin MOMCOM - 6). So which is it now --"it is ok if we do it" ... "we were only following orders" or "we are above the law as exceptionalists"?

No wonder the most successful pollster is putting the odds on the democrats losing the Senate and staying the minority in the House.

The NBC newscaster Brian Williams did a good job of neutrality when he interviewed Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras (Inside the Mind of Edward Snowden).

The mindless jargon on the administration is not at all phased by its fascist wrongs of becoming spying sickos on steroids, it is only pissed that it got caught.

That is some legacy for you Obama, Kerry, Feinstein, and the other so-called democrats who want to outdo the t-party wing nuts.

Daniel Ellsberg, who Kerry mentioned in his mad rant against Snowden, says:
"As for Kerry saying that -- I'd say a man that I once admired, that was a long time ago -- the statement that he made on [MSNBC] that Edward Snowden is a coward, a traitor, and he betrayed his country is one of the most despicable statements I have heard from a politician or anyone else who I can remember. It is very much to his discredit and I think very much the less of him."
(Huffinton Post). It is time for Secretary Kerry to apologize for such t-bagger McCarthy-ism type commentary and discourse.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Meanwhile, war criminals are too big to jail:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Germ Theory - of Government - 9

Clueless and Cluelesser (no particular order)
Have you been wondering, as many around the world have been, whether or not a nation like the U.S. can lose "its mind" ... or at least its self-identity?

What is to be said about the U.S. criticizing the authoritarian regimes for decade upon decade and then becoming one?

I mean seriously, let's wake up and smell the Stasi ("One of its main tasks was spying on the population") that the U.S. has turned into --except on steroids (e.g. see these Dredd Blog series: ACLU vs. Clapper, Alexander, Hagel, Holder, and Mueller, The Queens of Stalingrad, On the Origin of Security, Oldest Bush II Job - Torture Meister - 2).

In this current Dredd Blog series we have been contemplating a version of the germ theory in the attempt to find a viable explanation for a source of toxins that are damaging the cognitive abilities of the people who are pushing the buttons and pulling the levers of power (The Germ Theory - of Government, About Toxins Of Power).

I have talked about recent scientific discoveries that have revolutionized our understanding of viruses and organisms ... microbes ... and their impact on the dynamics of the human brain (e.g. The Human Microbiome Congress, Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power, One Man's Junk Gene Is Another Man's Treasure Gene?, Microbial Languages: Rehabilitation of the Unseen -- 2).

Today let's listen to a professor who teaches at Stanford University, because it is an eye opening revelation about the unseen world and what might be the source of the corruption of power in our world today (the video follows the text ... in case you prefer the video to reading the text):

Robert M. Sapolsky is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and of neurology at Stanford's School of Medicine. His books include A Primate's Memoir, and Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: A Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping.


[ROBERT SAPOLSKY:] In the endless sort of struggle that neurobiologists have — in terms of free will, determinism — my feeling has always been that there's not a whole lot of free will out there, and if there is, it's in the least interesting places and getting more sparse all the time. But there's a whole new realm of neuroscience which I've been thinking about, which I'm starting to do research on, that throws in another element of things going on below the surface affecting our behavior. And it's got to do with this utterly bizarre world of parasites manipulating our behavior. It turns out that this is not all that surprising. There are all sorts of parasites out there that get into some organism, and what they need to do is parasitize the organism and increase the likelihood that they, the parasite, will be fruitful and multiply, and in some cases they can manipulate the behavior of the host.

Some of these are pretty astounding. There's this barnacle that rides on the back of some crab and is able to inject estrogenic hormones into the crab if the crab is male, and at that point, the male's behavior becomes feminized. The male crab digs a hole in the sand for his eggs, except he has no eggs, but the barnacle sure does, and has just gotten this guy to build a nest for him. There are other ones where wasps parasitize caterpillars and get them to defend the wasp's nests for them. These are extraordinary examples.

The parasite my lab is beginning to focus on is one in the world of mammals, where parasites are changing mammalian behavior. It's got to do with this parasite, this protozoan called Toxoplasma. If you're ever pregnant, if you're ever around anyone who's pregnant, you know you immediately get skittish about cat feces, cat bedding, cat everything, because it could carry Toxo. And you do not want to get Toxoplasma into a fetal nervous system. It's a disaster.

The normal life cycle for Toxo is one of these amazing bits of natural history. Toxo can only reproduce sexually in the gut of a cat. It comes out in the cat feces, feces get eaten by rodents. And Toxo's evolutionary challenge at that point is to figure out how to get rodents inside cats' stomachs. Now it could have done this in really unsubtle ways, such as cripple the rodent or some such thing. Toxo instead has developed this amazing capacity to alter innate behavior in rodents.

If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they're going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-infected rodent, and they're no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat's stomach. Toxo's circle of life completed.

This was reported by a group in the UK about half a dozen years ago. Not a whole lot was known about what Toxo was doing in the brain, so ever since, part of my lab has been trying to figure out the neurobiological aspects. The first thing is that it's for real. The rodents, rats, mice, really do become attracted to cat urine when they've been infected with Toxo. And you might say, okay, well, this is a rodent doing just all sorts of screwy stuff because it's got this parasite turning its brain into Swiss cheese or something. It's just non-specific behavioral chaos. But no, these are incredibly normal animals. Their olfaction is normal, their social behavior is normal, their learning and memory is normal. All of that. It's not just a generically screwy animal.

You say, okay well, it's not that, but Toxo seems to know how to destroy fear and anxiety circuits. But it's not that, either. Because these are rats who are still innately afraid of bright lights. They're nocturnal animals. They're afraid of big, open spaces. You can condition them to be afraid of novel things. The system works perfectly well there. Somehow Toxo can laser out this one fear pathway, this aversion to predator odors.

We started looking at this. The first thing we did was introduce Toxo into a rat and it took about six weeks for it to migrate from its gut up into its nervous system. And at that point, we looked to see, where has it gone in the brain? It formed cysts, sort of latent, encapsulated cysts, and it wound up all over the brain. That was deeply disappointing.

But then we looked at how much winds up in different areas in the brain, and it turned out Toxo preferentially knows how to home in on the part of the brain that is all about fear and anxiety, a brain region called the amygdala. The amygdala is where you do your fear conditioning; the amygdala is what's hyperactive in people with post-traumatic stress disorder; the amygdala is all about pathways of predator aversion, and Toxo knows how to get in there.

Next, we then saw that Toxo would take the dendrites, the branch and cables that neurons have to connect to each other, and shriveled them up in the amygdala. It was disconnecting circuits. You wind up with fewer cells there. This is a parasite that is unwiring this stuff in the critical part of the brain for fear and anxiety. That's really interesting. That doesn't tell us a thing about why only its predator aversion has been knocked outwhereas fear of bright lights, et cetera, is still in there. It knows how to find that particular circuitry.

So what's going on from there? What's it doing? Because it's not just destroying this fear aversive response, it's creating something new. It's creating an attraction to the cat urine. And here is where this gets utterly bizarre. You look at circuitry in the brain, and there's a reasonably well-characterized circuit that activates neurons which become metabolically active circuits where they're talking to each other, a reasonably well-understood process that's involved in predator aversion. It involves neurons in the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and some other brain regions getting excited. This is a very well characterized circuit.

Meanwhile, there is a well-characterized circuit that has to do with sexual attraction. And as it happens, part of this circuit courses through the amygdala, which is pretty interesting in and of itself, and then goes to different areas of the brain than the fear pathways.

When you look at normal rats, and expose them to cat urine, cat pheromones, exactly as you would expect, they have a stress response: their stress hormone levels go up, and they activate this classical fear circuitry in the brain. Now you take Toxo-infected rats, right around the time when they start liking the smell of cat urine, you expose them to cat pheromones, and you don't see the stress hormone release. What you see is that the fear circuit doesn't activate normally, and instead the sexual arousal activates some. In other words, Toxo knows how to hijack the sexual reward pathway. And you get males infected with Toxo and expose them to a lot of the cat pheromones, and their testes get bigger. Somehow, this damn parasite knows how to make cat urine smell sexually arousing to rodents, and they go and check it out. Totally amazing.

So on a certain level, that explains everything. Ah ha! It takes over sexual arousal circuitry. This is utterly bizarre. At this point, we don't know what the basis is of the attraction in the females. It's something we're working on.

Some extremely nice work has been done by a group at Leeds in the UK, who are looking at the Toxo genome, and we're picking up on this collaboratively. Okay, Toxo, it's a protozoan parasite. Toxo and mammals had a common ancestor, and the last they did was God knows, billions of years ago. And you look in the Toxo genome, and it's got two versions of the gene called tyrosine hydroxylase. And if you were a neuro-chemistry type, you would be leaping up in shock and excitement at this point.

Tyrosine hydroxylase is the critical enzyme for making dopamine: the neurotransmitter in the brain that's all about reward and anticipation of reward. Cocaine works on the dopamine system, all sorts of other euphoriants do. Dopamine is about pleasure, attraction and anticipation. And the Toxo genome has the mammalian gene for making the stuff. It's got a little tail on the gene that targets, specifies, that when this is turned into the actual enzyme, it gets secreted out of the Toxo and into neurons. This parasite doesn't need to learn how to make neurons act as if they are pleasurably anticipatory; it takes over the brain chemistry of it all on its own.

Again that issue of specificity comes up. Look at closely related parasites to Toxo: do they have this gene? Absolutely not. Now look at the Toxo genome and look at genes related to other brain messengers. Serotonin, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and so on, and you go through every single gene you can think of. Zero. Toxo doesn't have them, Toxo's got this one gene which allows it to just plug into the whole world of mammalian reward systems. And at this point, that's what we know. It is utterly cool.

Of course, at this point, you say well, what about other species? What does Toxo do to humans? And there's some interesting stuff there that's reminiscent of what's going on in rodents. Clinical dogma is you first get a Toxo infection. If you're pregnant, it gets into the fetal nervous system, a huge disaster. Otherwise, if you get a Toxo infection, it has phases of inflammation, but eventually it goes into this latent asymptomatic stage, which is when these cysts form in the brain. Which is, in a rat, when it stops being anything boring like asymptomatic, and when the behavior starts occurring. Interestingly, that's when the parasite starts making this tyrosine hydroxylase.

So what about humans? A small literature is coming out now reporting neuropsychological testing on men who are Toxo-infected, showing that they get a little bit impulsive. Women less so, and this may have some parallels perhaps with this whole testosterone aspect of the story that we're seeing. And then the truly astonishing thing: two different groups independently have reported that people who are Toxo-infected have three to four times the likelihood of being killed in car accidents involving reckless speeding.

In other words, you take a Toxo-infected rat and it does some dumb-ass thing that it should be innately skittish about, like going right up to cat smells. Maybe you take a Toxo-infected human and they start having a proclivity towards doing dumb-ass things that we should be innately averse to, like having your body hurdle through space at high G-forces. Maybe this is the same neurobiology. This is not to say that Toxo has evolved the need to get humans into cat stomachs. It's just sheer convergence. It's the same nuts and bolts neurobiology in us and in a rodent, and does the same thing.

On a certain level, this is a protozoan parasite that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other's shoulders, and this is not a rare pattern. Look at the rabies virus; rabies knows more about aggression than we neuroscientists do. It knows how to make you rabid. It knows how to make you want to bite someone, and that saliva of yours contains rabies virus particles, passed on to another person.

The Toxo story is, for me, completely new terrain — totally cool, interesting stuff, just in terms of this individual problem. And maybe it's got something to do with treatments for phobias down the line or whatever it is to make it seem like anything more than just the coolest gee whiz thing possible. But no doubt it's also a tip of the iceberg of God knows what other parasitic stuff is going on out there. Even in the larger sense, God knows what other unseen realms of biology make our behavior far less autonomous than lots of folks would like to think.

With regard to parasite infections like Toxo in humans, there is a big prevalence in certain parts of the world. There's a higher prevalence in the tropics, where typically more than 50 percent of people are infected. Lower rates in more temperate zones for reasons that I do not understand and do not choose to speculate on. France has really high rates of Toxo infection. In much of the developing world, it's bare feet, absorbing it through soil, where cats may have been. It's food that may not have been washed sufficiently and absorption through hands. It's the usual story that people in the developing world are more subject to all sorts of infectious stuff.

A few years ago, I sat down with a couple of the Toxo docs over in our hospital who do the Toxo testing in the Ob/Gyn clinics. And they hadn't heard about this behavioral story, and I'm going on about how cool and unexpected it is. And suddenly, one of them jumps up, flooded with 40-year-old memories, and says, "I just remembered back when I was a resident, I was doing a surgical transplant rotation. And there was an older surgeon, who said, if you ever get organs from a motorcycle accident death, check the organs for Toxo. I don't know why, but you find a lot of Toxo." And you could see this guy was having a rush of nostalgic memories from back when he was 25 and all because he was being told this weird factoid ... ooh, people who die in motorcycle accidents seem to have high rates of Toxo. Utterly bizarre.

What is the bottom line on this? Well, it depends; if you want to overcome some of your inhibitions, Toxo might be a very good thing to have in your system. Not surprisingly, ever since we started studying Toxo in my lab, every lab meeting we sit around speculating about which people in the lab are Toxo-infected, and that might have something to do with one's level of recklessness. Who knows? It's very interesting stuff, though.

You want to know something utterly terrifying? Here's something terrifying and not surprising. Folks who know about Toxo and its affect on behavior are in the U.S. military. They're interested in Toxo. They're officially intrigued. And I would think they would be intrigued, studying a parasite that makes mammals perhaps do things that everything in their fiber normally tells them not to because it's dangerous and ridiculous and stupid and don't do it. But suddenly with this parasite on board, the mammal is a little bit more likely you go and do it. Who knows? But they are aware of Toxo.

There are two groups that collaborate in Toxo research. One is Joanne Webster, who was at Oxford at the time that she first saw this behavioral phenomenon. And I believe she's now at University College London. And the other is Glenn McConkey at University of Leeds. And they're on this. She's more of a behaviorist, he's more of an enzyme biochemist guy. We're doing the neurobiology end of it. We're all talking lots.

There's a long-standing literature that absolutely shows there's a statistical link between Toxo infection and schizophrenia. It's not a big link, but it's solidly there. Schizophrenics have higher than expected rates of having been infected with Toxo, and not particularly the case for other related parasites. Links between schizophrenia and mothers who had house cats during pregnancy. There's a whole literature on that. So where does this fit in?

Two really interesting things. Back to dopamine and the tyrosine hydroxylase gene that Toxo somehow ripped off from mammals, which allows it to make more dopamine. Dopamine levels are too high in schizophrenia. That's the leading suggestion of what schizophrenia is about neurochemically. You take Toxo-infected rodents and their brains have elevated levels of dopamine. Final deal is, and this came from Webster's group, you take a rat who's been Toxo-infected and is now at the state where it would find cat urine to be attractive, and you give it drugs that block dopamine receptors, the drugs that are used to treat schizophrenics, and it stops being attracted to the cat urine. There is some schizophrenia connection here with this.

Any time Toxo's picked up in the media, and this schizophrenia angle is brought in, the irresistible angle is the generic crazy cat lady, you know, living in the apartment with 43 cats and their detritus. And that's an irresistible one in terms of Toxo psychiatric status: cats. But God knows what stuff is lurking there.

Things going on below the surface but still perhaps having an effect on human behavior (Professor Sapolsky, Stanford University):

The previous post in this series is here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Damaged Global Climate System - 2

Dr. James Hansen Arrested for Caring
The Dredd Blog System has continually detailed the history of oil pollution of the air, water, land, and health of the Earth and life on it.

Regular readers know that we have even gone way back to the roots of the nation.

In so doing we have taken a look at both the original history of our national cultural amygdala as well as the revisionist history that still plagues our culture as much as it ever did.

Another book I found out about, and will share with you, details how the ancient tobacco industry was involved and how they even inspired the resort to slavery, one of our original moral failures:
Now comes “The Barbarous Years,” the next installment. It circles back to a period that most Americans don’t hear much about in school: the chaotic decades from the establishment of Jamestown (England’s first permanent colony in the Americas) in 1607 up to King Philip’s War (the vicious conflict that effectively expelled Indians from New England) in 1675-76. Bailyn’s goal is to show how a jumble of migrants, “low and high born,” sought “to recreate, if not to improve, in this remote and, to them, barbarous environment, the life they had known before.” As the title indicates, the story is as grim as it is fascinating: a group portrait in tones of greed, desperation and brutality. In recent years conservative writers dismayed by historical revisionism have flooded stores with books extolling the character and sagacity of America’s founders. “The Barbarous Years” is not one of them.

Death was everywhere,” Bailyn writes of Jamestown. The colony was a commercial enterprise, started by the Virginia Company with the sort of careful financial evaluation that in the more recent past was the hallmark of the dot-com boom.

English people kept coming anyway, lured by a discovery that the Crown and company hated: tobacco. Hip, fun, disdained by stuffy authorities and wildly addictive, the smoking weed was an ideal consumer product. Thousands of migrants were willing to risk death for the chance to cash in on England’s squadrons of new nicotine junkies. The Chesapeake Bay became a barely governed swarm of semi-independent tobacco fiefs, owned by families, operated by squads of indentured servants, all squabbling with one another, Protestants against Catholics, English against other Europeans, everyone against Indians.
(A History of Oil Addiction - 4). The use of slaves on tobacco plantations began circa 1619, but did not supplant indentured servants until circa 1700 (see Wikipedia, Tobacco Colonies).

As it turns out in the modern history of the tobacco-drug peddlers, they were watched closely by the oil-drug peddlers, so as to learn how to keep their share of addicts in their cages.

The 2007 video of a University of California professor's lecture maps out the modern machinations of these drug lords (The Exceptional American Denial).

That video details the more modern history of denial of various murderous, mass killing, polluting events, even as it details the history of the discovery of global warming induced climate change.

Interestingly, that lecture also indicts the mass media (McTell News) as enablers of mass murder, because they did not stand up to the peddlers as they should have.

Other sources also indict the mass media for their failure:
“The industry’s position was that there was no ‘proof’ that tobacco was bad, and they fostered that position by manufacturing a ‘debate,’ convincing [intimidating with threats] the mass media that responsible journalists had an obligation to present ‘both sides’ of it.” Using a handful of scientists as their expert witnesses, the major tobacco companies also denied the science linking cigarette smoking and cancer and claimed that anti-tobacco findings were driven by a political agenda. Using publicity outfits, think tanks, and those “objective” scientists in their pay or thrall, they put their money where their mouths were and financed a massive campaign of what, in retrospect, can only be called disinformation on the effects of tobacco smoking on human health. In this way, they created the doubt and debate they wanted, successfully postponing a reckoning for their industry for years.
(What's Big Energy Smoking?, emphasis added). Thus, as it turned out the modern-era denial tactics began with Big Tobacco hiring a few wayward scientists, as they once had done with indentured servants and slaves, which was then closely followed by Big Oil using the same deception in denial of climate change.

The few modern scientists who became lackeys were paid a king's ransom to develop the original modern deceptive practices which continued to bring lung-cancer death to many of their fellow Americans.

Now, as that video shows, the same deceptive tobacco rap is being used by Oil-Qaeda to continue to engineer what will eventually become the largest mass-murder events in human history (MOMCOM's Mass Suicide & Murder Pact).

Meanwhile, CO2 levels have reached 400 ppm. in the Northern Hemisphere:
Carbon dioxide levels throughout the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history in April, an ominous threshold for climate change, the World Meteorological Organization said on Monday.
(CO2 Topped 400 PPM In April, emphasis added). Like the tobacco companies, the murderous lies of Oil-Qaeda will be found out, because the ocean is also giving us historical experiences:
On May 22nd, 2014, global sea surface temperature anomalies spiked to an amazing +1.25 degrees Celsius [2.25° F] above the, already warmer than normal, 1979 to 2000 average. This departure is about 1.7 degrees C [3.06° F] above 1880 levels — an extraordinary reading that signals the world may well be entering a rapid warming phase.
(Ocean Temperature Rises). In addition to that, permafrost temperature monitoring shows an increase in the active top layer, along with ongoing temperature increases meters below ground:
The most direct indicators of changes in permafrost state are temperature and active layer thickness (ALT). Permafrost is ground that remains frozen for two or more years. The active layer is the top layer of soil and/or rock that thaws during the summer and freezes again during the fall. Permafrost temperature at a depth where seasonal temperature variations cease to occur can be used as an indicator of long-term change. This depth varies from a few meters in warm, ice-rich permafrost to 20 m [65.6 ft.] and more in cold permafrost and in bedrock (Smith et al. 2010, Romanovsky et al. 2010a). Where continuous, year-round temperature measurements are available, the mean annual ground temperature (MAGT) at any depth within the upper 15 m [49.2 ft.] of permafrost can be used as a measure of permafrost change. Such measurements can be obtained from boreholes, which now number ~600.
In 2013, new record high temperatures at 20 m [65.6 ft.] depth were measured at some permafrost observatories on the North Slope of Alaska and in the Brooks Range ... where measurements began in the late 1970s and early 1980s ... Canada: In 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), temperatures in the upper 25 m [82 ft.] of ground at Alert, northernmost Ellesmere Island, were the highest since measurements began in 1978 ... At a depth of 15 m [49.2 ft.] in borehole BH5, temperature has increased by ~ +1.5°C [2.7° F] per decade since 2000, which is about +1°C [1.8° F] higher than the rate for the entire record ... Even at a depth of 24 m [78.7 ft.], temperature has increased since 2000 at a rate approaching +1°C [1.8° F] per decade ... Note that the rate of warming at Alert is greater than on the North Slope of Alaska.
(Permafrost Report , cf. Alaska Report, News - Permafrost). The mass news media in the U.S. is still doing little to help the situation, choosing to bury its head in the sand rather than put the blame on Oil-Qaeda where it belongs.

So, be sure to let your local news folk know that they are enablers of the mass murder that is here already --while even worse events are still approaching.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

This Is Your Brain On Propaganda - 5

Epigovernment Gun-boats
This Memorial Day is a day of memory.

The true memorial can only be as accurate as the true memory of the events to be memorialised. 

The ideal of the concept of a memorial is supposed to be to remember what really happened, however,  when the reality does not match the ideal it is not a memorial, it is one of the forms of propaganda.

It is sometimes a bit shocking to realize how much of what we think is actual history is really not actual history, it is instead the work of revisionist historians.

One new facet of that is how the U.S. Supreme Court revises the decisions it makes sometimes years after the fact:
Hiding in plain sight at the top of a Supreme Court opinion when first issued is a formal notice that “this opinion is subject to formal revision.” Readers have long assumed that any such revisions are both rarely made and entirely nonsubstantive in nature. Neither is true. Apart from the anticipated routine proofreading corrections of typographical errors, misspellings, and incidental grammatical mistakes, which are many, the Justices routinely correct mistakes in majority and separate opinions relating to the arguments of the parties, record below, historical facts, relevant statutes and regulations, opinions of their colleagues, and Court precedent. The Justices also, even more significantly, sometimes change their initial reasoning in support of their legal conclusions. To all these ends, they sometimes add, delete, and substitute words, phrases, and sentences. Unaware of the existence and degree of such changes, the public routinely refers to versions of opinions of the Court and of Justices that, while superseded, are nonetheless perpetuated through lower court opinions, websites, and even leading academic casebooks.

This article is the first to explore the Court’s practice of revising its opinions after initial publication, which one Justice privately referred to as “a strange and reverse basis” and a Court official described as “completely at odds with general publishing practices.”
(Harvard Law Review Article, The (Non)Finality of Supreme Court Opinions, 128 Harv. L. Rev.____, (forthcoming 2014), emphasis added). This form of revisionist history is problematic, because, as it ends up "lower court opinions, websites, and even leading academic casebooks" all pass around multiple versions of the "same case."

Time and again Dredd Blog has pointed out our cultural proclivity to habitually practice revisionist history (e.g. American Feudalism - 5, Corp Germ > Corp Seed > Corp Monster - 4, In Mother-Country MOMCOM: "Text Acts You!").

This is true of past "good" wars too:
The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.
(The Virgin MOMCOM - 6, quoting 1944 book; cf. MOMCOM And The Sins of Libya - 2, The Fog of War - McWarster McNamara, On The Origin of The Bully Religion - 2).

The wars fought since the 1900's have been primarily about the control of oil and war profiteering (The Universal Smedley, The Universal Smedley - 2, Viva Egypt - 2).

The previous post in this series is here.

Daily Show Video
On Veteran's treatment over the years: PART-1 PART-2