Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Sour Grapes of Wrath

FEMA Camp Footage Requested for New Documentary

This is a personal letter from filmmaker William Lewis.

FEMA Camps In The United States

As many of you may already be aware, our next project is an investigation into the dark arena of FEMA camps. We have the legislation. We have interviews with experts in the field. We even have a state level representative who has gained us access to facilities that are rumored to be American internment camps. We need your participation, as well.

Your mission

Bridgestone Media Group is currently seeking individuals who have shot footage of alleged or confirmed FEMA facilities in their area.

Should you decide to accept this mission

If you're the Alex Jones type who plans to head out to the woods with a camera, canteen, and some bug spray - please note that we are not advising anyone to take any unnecessary risks to acquire the requested footage. Please be careful on your mission and we humbly ask that you not break the law. With that little disclaimer out of the way, you all know what to do.

Footage should be mailed to the following address along with a personal release permitting us to use the footage in our next production entitled, "Camp FEMA" and any potential follow-ups:

Our Mailing Address:

BSMG / Footage Submissions
P.O. Box 30576
Columbia, MO 65205-0576

Please submit your footage in one of the following formats

(1.) Mini-DV tapes are preferred.
(2.) DVD

(3.) Other accepted media types: VHS, Super VHS, S-VHS

Thank you for your help!


William Lewis


Bridgestone Media Group

Camp FEMA Trailer:

Take Back Washington

Drinking Water From Air Humidity

ScienceDaily (June 8, 2009) � Not a plant to be seen, the desert ground is too dry. But the air contains water, and research scientists have found a way of obtaining drinking water from air humidity. The system is based completely on renewable energy and is therefore autonomous.

Cracks permeate the dried-out desert ground, the landscape bears testimony to the lack of water. But even here, where there are no lakes, rivers or groundwater, considerable quantities of water are stored in the air. In the Negev desert in Israel, for example, annual average relative air humidity is 64 percent � in every cubic meter of air there are 11.5 milliliters of water.

Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart working in conjunction with their colleagues from the company Logos Innovationen have found a way of converting this air humidity autonomously and decentrally into drinkable water. "The process we have developed is based exclusively on renewable energy sources such as thermal solar collectors and photovoltaic cells, which makes this method completely energy-autonomous. It will therefore function in regions where there is no electrical infrastructure," says Siegfried Egner, head of department at the IGB. The principle of the process is as follows: hygroscopic brine � saline solution which absorbs moisture � runs down a tower-shaped unit and absorbs water from the air. It is then sucked into a tank a few meters off the ground in which a vacuum prevails. Energy from solar collectors heats up the brine, which is diluted by the water it has absorbed.

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

By Robert Parry

There's been talk that George W. Bush was so inept that he should trademark the phrase "Worst President Ever," though some historians would bestow that title on pre-Civil War President James Buchanan. Still, a case could be made for putting Ronald Reagan in the competition.

Granted, the very idea of rating Reagan as one of the worst presidents ever will infuriate his many right-wing acolytes and offend Washington insiders who have made a cottage industry out of buying some protection from Republicans by lauding the 40th President.

But there's a growing realization that the starting point for many of the catastrophes confronting the United States today can be traced to Reagan's presidency. There's also a grudging reassessment that the "failed" presidents of the 1970s � Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter � may deserve more credit for trying to grapple with the problems that now beset the country.

Nixon, Ford and Carter won scant praise for addressing the systemic challenges of America's oil dependence, environmental degradation, the arms race, and nuclear proliferation � all issues that Reagan essentially ignored and that now threaten America's future.

Nixon helped create the Environmental Protection Agency; he imposed energy-conservation measures; he opened the diplomatic door to communist China. Nixon's administration also detected the growing weakness in the Soviet Union and advocated a policy of d�tente (a plan for bringing the Cold War to an end or at least curbing its most dangerous excesses).

After Nixon's resignation in the Watergate scandal, Ford continued many of Nixon's policies, particularly trying to wind down the Cold War with Moscow. However, confronting a rebellion from Reagan's Republican Right in 1976, Ford abandoned "d�tente."

Ford also let hard-line Cold Warriors (and a first wave of young intellectuals who became known as neoconservatives) pressure the CIA's analytical division, and he brought in a new generation of hard-liners, including Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

After defeating Ford in 1976, Carter injected more respect for human rights into U.S. foreign policy, a move some scholars believe put an important nail in the coffin of the Soviet Union, leaving it hard-pressed to justify the repressive internal practices of the East Bloc. Carter also emphasized the need to contain the spread of nuclear weapons, especially in unstable countries like Pakistan.

Domestically, Carter pushed a comprehensive energy policy and warned Americans that their growing dependence on foreign oil represented a national security threat, what he famously called "the moral equivalent of war."

However, powerful vested interests � both domestic and foreign � managed to exploit the shortcomings of these three presidents to sabotage any sustained progress. By 1980, Reagan had become a pied piper luring the American people away from the tough choices that Nixon, Ford and Carter had defined.

Cruelty with a Smile

With his superficially sunny disposition and a ruthless political strategy of exploiting white-male resentments Reagan convinced millions of Americans that the threats they faced were: African-American welfare queens, Central American leftists, a rapidly expanding Evil Empire based in Moscow, and the do-good federal government.

In his First Inaugural Address in 1981, Reagan declared that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."

When it came to cutting back on America's energy use, Reagan's message could be boiled down to the old reggae lyric, "Don't worry, be happy." Rather than pressing Detroit to build smaller, fuel-efficient cars, Reagan made clear that the auto industry could manufacture gas-guzzlers without much nagging from Washington.

The same with the environment. Reagan intentionally staffed the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department with officials who were hostile toward regulation aimed at protecting the environment. George W. Bush didn't invent Republican hostility toward scientific warnings of environmental calamities; he was just picking up where Reagan left off.

US sending 1,000 commandos to Afghanistan

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon is sending additional 1,000 special operations forces and support staff to Afghanistan and changing the way commandoes fight the Taliban, Fox News reported on Saturday.

While much of the public focus has been on the 24,000 additional American troops moving into the country this year, United States Special Operations Command is quietly increasing its covert warriors in what could be a pivotal role.

Lt Gen Stanley McChrystal, a special operations officer who led successful manhunts in Iraq for Al Qaeda terrorists, is about to take command in Afghanistan.

McChrystal is expected to put more emphasis on using commandos in counter-insurgency operations and on killing key Taliban leaders.\06\07\story_7-6-2009_pg7_7

Obama: "Stop the Settlements"

Dear friends,

Obama is challenging Israel's right-wing government to stop its settlements, which are killing prospects for peace -- let's raise a massive global chorus to help him overcome powerful opposition in Israel and the US:

Sign the petition

West Bank settlement maps show how Palestinians are only allowed to live in small parts of their land:
President Obama just made a remarkable speech in Egypt, committing personally to building peace in the Middle East. Unexpectedly, his first move is to directly challenge the new right-wing government of America's ally Israel -- pressing them to stop their self-destructive policy of settlements (illegal colonies set up on territory recognized by the US and the world as Palestinian).

This is a moment of rare crisis and opportunity. Obama's bold strategy is facing powerful opposition, so he's going to need help around the world in the coming days and weeks to strengthen his resolve. Let's start right now -- by raising a massive global chorus behind Obama's statement that the settlements in occupied territory must stop.

We'll advertise the number of signatures in key newspapers in Israel, as well as in Washington DC (where some are trying to undermine Obama in the US Congress). Read Obama's words now and add your signature to them at the link below, then forward this email to friends and family so they can do the same:

There is broad agreement that the settlements are a significant barrier to peace, a view also shared by a silent majority of the Israeli public. Combined with a network of roadblocks and barriers, these colonies now blanket the West Bank, seizing territory and forcing Palestinians to live effectively as prisoners in smaller and smaller pockets (see map at right).

Until this problem is tackled, it seems impossible to build a viable Palestinian state or any kind of lasting peace. For Arab states deciding what more they themselves can do for peace, stopping the settlements has become a crucial test of Israel's seriousness.

We'll need to urge the other parties to take bold steps too. If we can help Obama to stay the course on settlements, shift Israeli policy and encourage the Palestinians and key Arab states also to stretch out their hands, a new beginning for the Middle East is possible.

But none of this will happen without a growing global movement of citizens taking action to support it. Read Obama's words, add your signature and spread the word today:

With hope and determination,

Paul, Raluca, Ricken, Brett, Paula, Graziela, Rajeev, Iain, Taren, Milena, Luis, Alice and the whole Avaaz team

President Obama's speech (full text):

"Obama Takes Tough Stance on Israeli Settlements":

"Israeli Settlement Growth Must Stop, Says Clinton":

Agence France Presse reports on Israeli and Palestinian responses to the speech

Al-Jazeera - "Obama Seeks New Start with Muslims"

Yediot Aharonot - "Ministers Split Over Obama's Cairo Speech",7340,L-3726367,00.html

The Pixar Paradox

How do they do it? How do they maintain such a level of consistency while others flip and flop around between commercial hits/misses and critical dismissal? For many in the animation field, Pixar's unrealistic winning streak - 10 films, 10 classics or near classics (including the recently released gem, Up) - makes for a lot of scratched studio heads. While Shreks and Shark Tales come and go, racking up dollars but little masterpiece buzz, the minted kings of the bitmap own a winning streak that even parent company the House of Mouse can't compete with. In fact, in the history of any artform - the novel, television, music, the movies, etc. - only The Beatles can claim such reliability, and even they strayed from the perfectionist path every once in a while.

So, again, how do they do it? Can Pixar claim something that others - mainly Fox and Dreamworks - can't seem to find with infinitely more backing? The answers would seem obvious at first, but in looking at the situation more closely, Pixar may actually be in possession of something the rest of Hollywood can't locate with a litany of bean counters and a cadre of MBAs. If movies are indeed magic, then the San Francisco based production company contains nothing but wizards. That's right, Pixar probably maintains its amazing rate of success through means both pragmatic and paranormal. Anyone can fuse imagination to story and character and come up with something saleable. It takes a true conjurer to move all those elements into the realm of the flawless - and yet they manage to do so time and time again.

Granted, there is some technology involved. What many audiences don't understand is that, at least initially, Pixar's feature films were a means of capitalizing on the progress being made by the company's technicians. From the lush vistas of A Bug's Life to the fuzzball fur components of Monster's Inc. , the animators and their computer programming counterparts constantly pushed the envelope of the developing format, adding and tweaking until they got the level of depth and/or realism they were looking for. By latter efforts such as The Incredibles and Wall-E, an entire paintbox of possibilities lay before the Pixar crew. Of course, even the greatest scientific leaps must be controlled by someone with creative vision. How this company manages to corner the market on such Merlins is mindboggling.

As stated before, narrative and personality are also part of the picture, and no one micromanages either better than Pixar. While that may sound like an insult, let's look at the statement more closely. A film like Ratatouille doesn't just settle on a simple premise (rat wants to be a chef) to amuse. It fuses that foundation with several sweet subplots, a couple of old school subtexts, and enough twists and turns to expand and exercise the ideas within. By then end, not only are we rooting for our little pest protagonist, but we've seen the growth of the Gusteau's staff, the downfall of the arrogant Skinner, and the opening of food critic Anton Ego's narrow, critical mind. Even without the ample comedy and action slapstick, the movie easily manufactures its world and then puts us right into the center of it.

Maybe that's the key, a mandate that science fiction writers and other creatures of imaginative literature more or less live by. The easiest way to lose a reader - or in this case, a viewer - is to create a universe where the rules are cloudy and unclear (or worse, where the characters within ignore and flaunt them).

Taliban will never be defeated, says Mullah Omar's mentor

London, Jun.7 - ANI: The United States is planning to send an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan to neutralize the Taliban, but would never achieve its goals, claims a mentor of Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

Amir Sultan Tarar alias Colonel Imam said allied forces would not be able to overpower their enemies in Afghanistan.

He said the military offensive would only aggravate the situation, and therefore the allied forces should initiate talks with the Taliban to resolve the issues.

"You can never win the war in Afghanistan. I have worked with these people since the 1970s and I tell you they will never be defeated. Anyone who has come here, has got stuck. The more you kill, the more they will expand," he said.

Tarar had run a training programme for Afghans during the Soviet Unions invasion between 1979 and 1989, and played a vital role in forming the Taliban, The Times reports.

He claimed to have trained Mullah Omar in the 1980s.

Omar passed through the camp in 1985.He was a simple man, a small commander leading a maximum of 40 people and didn't have much weaponry, Tarar recalled.

He also lashed out at former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf for siding with the US after the 9/11 incident.

Tarar said Musharraf had severed ties with the Taliban under American pressure.

You cannot defeat these people, they are well trained, they have a lot of ammunition and the more you kill, the more supporters will come, Tarar recalled telling Musharraf.

He sees the current situation as a success for the extremists, and said allied forces would face the same fate as the Russians.,taliban-defeated-mullah-omars-mentor.html

U.S. war funding bill brims with unrelated extras

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) � A $100 billion bill to fund U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is rapidly accumulating extra items such as money for military aircraft the Pentagon doesn't want and possibly a scheme to jump-start sagging auto sales.

The cars and planes are not directly linked to the U.S. war effort. But they are typical of Congress' penchant for loading bills with unrelated spending in hopes the funds will sail through on the strength of the main legislation.

President Barack Obama originally sought $83.4 billion for the two wars and more foreign aid for countries like Pakistan.

But then he too sought more -- $4 billion extra to combat H1N1 swine flu and $5 billion to back credit lines to the International Monetary Fund, which is trying to help developing countries weather the global economic downturn.

The unrelated provisions have slowed the bill down, especially for the IMF because Republicans have argued the extra items should be vetted through the normal congressional process rather than jammed into an emergency spending bill.

Fights have also erupted about add-ons for the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and an attempt to bar the release of photos of detainee abuse. While Republicans do not have the votes to block the bill, they have said they will oppose it and that forces Democrats to ensure most of their members back it.

"This supplemental was supposed to be about providing funding for our troops," one House Republican aide said. Instead, it has become a mish-mashed, taxpayer funded 'Christmas tree' bill that will propagate bad policies and unnecessary spending."

Recycled radioactive metal contaminates consumer products


Thousands of everyday products and materials containing radioactive metals are surfacing across the United States and around the world.

Common kitchen cheese graters, reclining chairs, women's handbags and tableware manufactured with contaminated metals have been identified, some after having been in circulation for as long as a decade. So have fencing wire and fence posts, shovel blades, elevator buttons, airline parts and steel used in construction.

A Scripps Howard News Service investigation has found that -- because of haphazard screening, an absence of oversight and substantial disincentives for businesses to report contamination -- no one knows how many tainted goods are in circulation in the United States.

But thousands of consumer goods and millions of pounds of unfinished metal and its byproducts have been found to contain low levels of radiation, and experts think the true amount could be much higher, perhaps by a factor of 10.

Government records of cases of contamination, obtained through state and federal Freedom of Information Act requests, illustrate the problem.

In 2006 in Texas, for example, a recycling facility inadvertently created 500,000 pounds of radioactive steel byproducts after melting metal contaminated with Cesium-137, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records. In Florida in 2001, another recycler unintentionally did the same, and wound up with 1.4 million pounds of radioactive material. And in 1998, 430,000 pounds of steel laced with Cobalt-60 made it to the U.S. heartland from Brazil.

But an accounting of the magnitude of the problem is unknown because U.S. and state governments do not require scrap yards, recyclers and other businesses -- a primary line of defense against rogue radiation -- to screen metal goods and materials for radiation or report it when found. And no federal agency is responsible for oversight.

"Nobody's going to know -- nobody -- how much has been melted into consumer goods," said Ray Turner, an international expert on radiation with Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based River Metals Recycling. He has helped decontaminate seven metal-recycling facilities that unwittingly melted scrap containing radioactive isotopes.

"It's your worst nightmare," Turner said.

Masters & Johnsons Notorious Ex-Gay Study Debunked

by Wayne Besen

Exclusive Truth Wins Out interview with Thomas Maier

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

For decades, anti-gay organizations have gleefully pointed to Masters & Johnson's 1979 book, "Homosexuality in Perspective", that claimed to cure homosexuality. Indeed, Dr. William H. Masters and Virginal E. Johnson, the husband and wife sex research team, went on Meet the Press on Sunday, April 22, 1979, to discuss their finding that homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals. The book has since been used by the so-called "ex-gay" industry to "prove" gays could go straight, if they just tried hard enough.

In his groundbreaking new book, "Masters of Sex", author Thomas Maier discovered through investigative reporting that the results of Masters & Johnson's study were entirely fabricated. Virginia Johnson acknowledged that the results were fake. She had actually argued in 1978 that book should never have seen the light of day - but it was already to late in the publishing process to undo the damage.

One can not overstate the importance of Maier's findings. They undo the very underpinnings of the so-called "ex-gay" therapy movement, further showing that there is no scientific evidence or data to support the outdated idea that gay people can become heterosexual through therapy. Indeed, many people who have undergone such "treatment" claim the experience was harmful and that they were psychologically damaged. The American Psychiatric Association says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to "anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior."

How to Come Out on Facebook

Coming out on facebookThe transparency that online social networking imposes is something that takes getting used to. For many people, exposing yourself to a potentially immense and judgmental community can be new and scary. But many gay people love that function of Facebook because it makes one primary but traditionally fraught ritual of gay and lesbian life so much easier. That would be coming out. Facebook is like drive-thru coming out: quick, cheap and open all night.

Coming out used to be an exhausting process. You had to come out again and again and again to all your friends at different times. Nowadays, even with social networking, gays still have to come out, but one of the key differences between our pre-profile selves and our new online presentations is that now (finally!) the burden is also on our friends to discover and digest our identities. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, Facebook et al have finally leveled the identity field, and it's kinda nice.

I remember the apprehension I had prior to going to a high school reunion in the days before Facebook was popular. I didn't care who knew I was sapphically inclined. I just resented having to tell them. Fast forward to now. My long-lost buddy Jill from middle school (married to a guy and with two small children) recently found me on Facebook. She had responded to some posts on my page about the lesbian soap opera The L Word, so it was safe to assume that she had figured me out.

"I did know you were gay," she told me when I inquired about how she digested my profile. "Maybe even a hunch at 14 but pretty sure I may have heard it somewhere along the road as an adult, although I can't remember how or when. When I read your L Word write-ups, it only confirmed what I knew." Jill knew. Still, I didn't know she knew. But I didn't need to come out to her. Jill was covered when she friended me. (Check out a story about your Facebook relationship status.)

The system works within the community as well. When I last heard of my friend Harreld, he was well ensconced in a long-term relationship with a man. But when our paths crossed on Facebook earlier this year, I saw that he had been in a relationship with a woman for some time. I had no idea Harreld was a practicing bisexual.,8599,1901909,00.html?xid=newsletter-weekly

The internet according to 1969


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