Saturday, January 17, 2015

Why Guantanamo Matters - An American's Opinion


With the beginning of 2015 came news of more prisoners being dismissed from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

Is this a good thing for the United States?

To answer that question honestly, perhaps we should take a close look at what America is supposed to stand for and what it is that makes us different. 

America, who's mission statement is Liberty and Justice for ALL, now has a tarnished image due in part to recently revealed activities° at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. 

I thought prisons were for people who have been convicted for having committed a crime. 

Lets be clear about something. There are people being detained at Guantanamo who have NOT been sentenced or charged for a crime. Many of them have been held captive for a decade; locked away indefinitely. Again, let me reiterate, these people have NOT been charged or convicted, yet they are being detained with little humanitarian oversight and legal recourse. 

Who are we again?

This isn't us. This isn't how Americans are supposed to behave toward our fellow beings. We're supposed to be an example, remember? We're "the city on the hill" - something other nations aspire to and are inspired by. What happens at Guantanamo Bay is the kind of thing that we criticize other nations for doing. We have a name brand*° in the world, and it is important to uphold our credibility among other nations and their peoples.

The detention of non-charged persons is not good for America because it creates more enemies for us. The person being detained will no doubt have animosity toward his captors. Torture and unjust imprisonment is no way to make a friend. If he wasn't an enemy before detention, he is certainly more likely to be our enemy after imprisonment. The children of the detained will hate America, and continue the resistance of what they perceive as US aggression and occupation in their homeland.  

There probably are some dangerous people being detained at Guantanamo Bay. If crimes have been committed, then gather the evidence and present it at a trial. If there is no evidence, then those being detained should be released. It's the right thing to do. It's the American way. 

° Torture is outlawed by international and domestic law, morally repugnant and downright un-American. 

*° A point made by Jon Huntsman Jr. during one of the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary debates. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Flu Shot for Santa on Solstice


There has been some news in the mainstream media lately that raises questions about the ineffectiveness of this year's flu vaccine. According to an official press release by the Center for Disease Control, in late March of 2014, a genetic drift variant, (mutation), occurred in the viral strain H3N2. This "genetic change" in H3N2 makes it "different... from this season's vaccine virus." What this means, according to the CDC, is that the current flu shot will have no effect on H3N2, one of this year's greatest viral threats.*

Before the H3N2 mutation occurred, the World Health Organization gathered in Geneva, Switzerland to decide upon which strains to target for the 2014/2015 flu season. They determined that this season's vaccine, (for the Northern Hemisphere), should include the same four viruses that were targeted last year; the pre-mutant strain of H3N2 being one of them. 

FLU MYTHOS


Millions of little people believe in Santa Claus, a jolly old fellow who delivers gifts to all the good children of the world at Christmas. At some point, the evidence outweighs the myth and the little person understands that they have been lied to. Both Santa and the flu shot have that in common. Evidence is the convincing factor that dispels both myths.

There are thousands of different influenza viruses and many people believe that the flu shot will protect them from getting the flu in general. In reality, the vaccine provides only limited protection from a couple of targeted strains. When someone has the flu, it is more accurate to say that they have a flu since there are thousands of different influenza viruses. The term, the flu is therefore somewhat misleading, nevertheless advantageous for pharmaceutical profiteers who allow the myth to be perpetuated because belief drives sales. The fact is that a flu shot will not provide any protection from the majority of influenza strains.

Because of this lack of real protection, many health professionals are refraining from receiving vaccinations and advising their patients to do the same. Dr. John McDougall** is one of them: 
"I recommend that my patients of all ages not take these incessantly promoted immunizations, primarily because of their lack of effectiveness." 
I spoke with one physical therapist at the University of Utah Medical Center who shared her skepticism about the flu shot. Even though the UUMC requires all of its employees to be inoculated, she refuses to receive the shot and is forced to wear a mask when working with her patients... as more of a punishment than protection, in my opinion. 

SELLING FEAR

More than three thousand people die from the flu every year, but not necessarily from the strains contained in the flu vaccine. The news media, who relies heavily on pharmaceutical sponsorship, will soon be reporting statistics about flu hospitalizations and deaths. They will typically end the report by promoting the flu shot as protection. What they don't tell you is that many of these victims had been vaccinated and got the flu anyway. 

The fear campaign will motivate many to get the shot and generate more money for the pharmaceutical industry. Big pharma spends millions on PR campaigns designed to scare the populous into purchasing their product. Apparently, the industry is more concerned with profits than actually preventing flu or the potential side effect caused by their products.

SIDE EFFECTS

"To every action there's an equal and opposite reaction" - Sir Isaac Newton
There are some downsides to getting the flu shot that could result in a person getting sicker than they might have, had they not received the vaccine.

A significant proportion of the population has adverse reactions to the flu shot. The pharmaceutical industry has prepared for any serious reactions by establishing compensation funds to pay out millions of dollars for damages including hospitalization and even fatal events.***

After receiving a flu shot, the immune system can be compromised for the first couple of days, rendering a recipient vulnerable to all disease. The vaccine is often administered in clinics and other places where sick people congregate, increasing vulnerability.

The flu vaccine also contains toxins such as thimerosal; an ethylmercury compound that when metabolized, is retained in the body tissue as inorganic mercury. These are trace amounts, equivalent to eating lots of tuna, but accumulatively toxic nevertheless.

Many years ago, I worked for a pharmacy that provided medications for numerous healthcare institutions and jails in Utah. It was my responsibility to fill orders and distribute them to the various facilities. Every season, a flu shot was prepared for every person at every facility. The institutionalized had no choice and passively rolled up their sleeves to receive a flu shot. It was reported to me by numerous recipients that the flu shot had made them sick. Some told me that they "had never been sicker after receiving that flu shot." Four years ago, my father said to me, "I haven't felt right since that flu shot." He died two weeks later from pneumonia that he contracted while his immune system was compromised - most likely by the flu vaccine.

FLU PREVENTION 

To avoid contracting an influenza virus, one should;
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Avoid touching the face
  • Take vitamin C and zinc supplements 
  • Prepare your own meals
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink lots of water
  • Eat nutritious, immune supporting foods
  • Avoid places where sick people congregate such as clinics and pharmacies
  • Don't take the faith-based flu vaccine
There is also new technology available in the form of a peroxide mist fogging machine**** that promises to kill 99.999% of viruses and bacteria on surfaces.

BLOWBACK

Big pharma doesn't take kindly to bad press and will use their advertising dollars to repress and suppress any information contrary to the officially sanctified narrative.

Last year, CNN host Piers Morgan, received a flu shot from Dr. Oz and reported that the shot had made him sick. Within a few days, CNN announced that they would be discontinuing Mr. Morgan's program due to low ratings. CNN, like most major cable networks, relies heavily on pharmaceutical sponsorship and seems to have given into threats by big pharma to pull advertisement money. Gun right activists took credit for CNN's decision, but I suspect that was a crafty diversionary tactic to boost ratings and direct attention away from information contrary to the official mantra.

CONCLUSION

Q: If Santa Claus gets a flu shot in the forest, but no one is there to see it, does it make a difference? 

A: There is no Santa.

NOTES   



*** A pharmaceutic industry term meaning death. Yes, people die from the flu shot.


**** At the push of a button the Sanosil Halo Fogger dispenses a an atomized mist into the air, and assures a homogeneous distrubution of disinfectant to all areas in the room, reaching surfaces that regular cleaning and disinfecting can't.  

Consult your physician 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Great Salt Lake in 3D Part 6 Surveying the Stansbury Mountains

In 1981, I temporarily worked for the United States Geological Survey as part of a project to update the map of the Stansbury Mountain Range and part of the valleys on each side. I spent the entire summer locating and documenting old survey monuments, mines, roads, structures and etc. 

One of the most memorable aspects of the job was the day we carried building materials to the top of one of the mountain peaks on the north end of the Stansbury Range. 
There, at an elevation of 5570' above sea level, we constructed a large sighting target directly over an official USGS triangulation Station.* The 10' tall target could be viewed from numerous other locations throughout our vast project area. 

Now, thirty-three years later I climbed to the top of the Stansbury Mountains and returned to the triangulation station. This is something I've planned for some time. I pored over maps and aerial photos to determine the best route up the rugged mountain. There are no trails, and the closest road ends at the base of the mountain.
3D photo of the peaks on the north end of the Stansbury Mountain Range looking NW across the north end of Skull Valley. Black Mountain is visible in the distance. 

I began my ascent early in the morning while it was still dark. When the sun finally peeked over the Oquirrh Mountains, on the other side of the Tooele Valley, I took refuge out of the cold wind in a rocky nook where I soaked in the solar warmth and ate my pre-prepared meal of bison. The view was spectacular.
When I reached the the triangulation station, I found the target broken and laying on the ground. A broken cross-section was still in place and the pile of rocks that we used to secure the wooden ten-foot tall 2x4 were still there but somewhat displaced. 
Over time, the guy wire we had used to secure the target had rusted and failed. Rust stains have become a permanent part of a large anchor that still had some thirty three year old guy wire wrapped around it. 

3D photo of dilapidated triangulation target looking west across Skull Valley.

I took the liberty of standing the old dilapidated target up by wedging the ten foot long 2x4 betwixt some large rocks. It isn't anchored with guy wire this time and probably won't last through the winter, but for now it can be seen from many miles away.
3D photo from top of Stansbury Mountains looking NW toward Stansbury Island on the Great Salt Lake.

The Stansbury Mountains are named for their original surveyor, Major Howard Stansbury, (1806-1863). 

US Interstate 80 crossing the alkali flats of the south shore of the Great Salt Lake, a few miles north of Grantsville.

Stansbury, and his party of surveyors, are credited with the first official survey of the Great Salt Lake from 1849 to 1851. He was the first person to determine that the Great Salt Lake is actually a remnant of a greater ancient lake that he called Lake Bonneville.

3D photo of Lone Rock in Skull Valley looking west from the top of the Stansbury Mountains.

Lone Rock** in Skull Valley, another important triangulation point, is an interesting and unusual rock formation that has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 
Salt plant on the south shore of the Great Salt Lake where State Highway 196/Skull Valley Rd intersects US Interstate 80. Black Mountain in the distance.

Salt production is an obvious industry on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. There are also billions of Sea Monkeys out there. 

Other important resources are extracted from the mineral-rich lake including magnesium at US Mag and even nutritional supplements in the form of trace minerals at Trace Minerals Research.

3D photo from the top of the Stansbury Mountains looking west across Skull Valley.
3D photo of 3D camera apparatus.

Major Stansbury's legacy lives on in the island and mountains that claim his name, and the monuments that he erected on mountain peaks and valleys around the Great Salt Lake.

* The Triangulation Station is located at approximately 
40° 43' 39.30" N
112° 37' 53.80" W
These coordinates are not official USGS coordinates, but are accurate within seconds. 

** Lone Rock Coordinates 
40° 42' 32" N
112° 41' 04" W

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Colorado! A Trip Long Overdue

Colorado has always held a special place in my heart. Last month I returned to the Centennial State for the first time in nearly three decades. A trip that was LONG overdue. 

Three days of yoga workshops, disc golf and scenic drives took us to some wonderful and mysterious places. 
Yoga Journal hosted a week-long event on the Estes Park YMCA, an enormously acreous retreat "camp" located high in the mountains adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park
The air was crisp and clean and we didn't see a soul on the trail that chose us for our walk in the park. 
House on a rock... not the one in Wisconsin. One of many in Colorado.
Quaking Aspen grandstand vibrant yellows throughout the mountainous regions. 
Evidence of last spring's floods along the road to Estes Park was a grim reminder of Mother Nature's tendency to occasionally go too far. 
Estes Park and Glen Haven were completely cut off and supplies had to be helicoptered in. 
Sparkling new CMP, (corrugated metal pipe), now ornament the new roads that have been reconstructed since the deluge that destroyed hundreds of bridges and wiped out entire sections of road.

Though our hotel was in Loveland, we took many random roads for hours, zig-zagging our way through the endless farmlands.  
We stumbled upon a couple cemeteries, one of which was especially interesting. Niwot Cemetery in Boulder County.
Apparently, in 1895, something terrible happened to lots of children in Niwot. Maybe they died from Smallpox or influenza... or maybe a crazed* child killer. 
There are numerous children's graves in the old section of the cemetery, (most of it is the old section). Some families were hit harder than others. The earliest headstone of one family had been carefully crafted and tediously manufactured with artistique, time-consuming care. 
Latter family members, all young children, died within months of one another. Their monuments were less ornamented and seemingly more hastily crafted. Apparently, the headstone maker was rather busy in 1895. 
We parked on the street at the University in Boulder to enjoy some sandwiches we had made. That's where I happened upon this light post that has been consumed by a tree. 

Before we knew it, we were leaving; heading back to life behind the Zion Curtain. 
Adios Colorado! See ya again real soon!!! 

*Mother Nature out of control again.