Does Burzynski get the last laugh? Claims advance in colon cancer research but skeptics scowl

I am hardly a sophisticated biochemist but it seems logical to suspect that signal proteins might be able to shut down tumors in individualized courses of therapy. After all, the thoroughly suppressed evil cannabis plant has been demonstrated to have similar effects.

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. Announces Publication of Phase 2 Clinical Study in Metastatic... -- HOUSTON, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

HOUSTON, March 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) announced today that results of a study independently conducted by the Department of Surgery at Kurume University Medical Center in Japan have been published. The study, a randomized non-blinded phase 2 trial, compared 5-fluorouracil hepatic arterial infusion as post-operative adjuvant therapy with and without Antineoplastons A10/AS2-1 Injections for colorectal metastasis of the liver.

A total of 65 patients, with histologically confirmed metastatic colon adenocarcinoma of the liver, were evaluated. Primary endpoints included cancer-specific survival. Secondary endpoints included relapse-free survival, clinical status and extent of recurrence, salvage surgery rate and toxicity.

BRI believes that the completion of the study represents an important milestone in the development of Antineoplastons and that further efficacy trials of Antineoplastons in colorectal cancer should continue to be pursued.

About Burzynski Research Institute, Inc.

Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (OTCBB:BZYR) is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing treatment for cancer based on genomic and epigenomic principles. Research and development efforts are focused on basic research and phase 3 clinical trials, particularly in the treatment of brain tumors and other forms of cancer.

SOURCE Burzynski Research Institute, Inc.

/////

On Healio.com via PLoS One: Antineoplastons as adjuvant therapy improve survival rate after hepatectomy

In a phase 2 clinical trial, antineoplastons, such as A10 injection and AS2-1, were a useful form of adjunctive therapy after hepatic arterial infusion, and improved cancer-specific survival in patients with liver metastases from colorectal cancer, according to study data.

Sixty-five patients with metastatic colon adenocarcinoma of the liver who had undergone hepatectomy or thermal ablation for liver metastases, were randomly assigned to receive systemic antineoplastons (A10-I infusion, then AS2-1) with hepatic arterial infusion (n = 32, HAI) or HAI alone (n = 33). The primary endpoint was cancer-specific survival (CSS), according to the research.

Upon completion of therapy, overall survival in the antineoplastons group did not improve a great deal (P = .105) and relapse-free survival also did not improve (P = .343). However, CSS rate was longer in the antineoplastons/HAI group with a median survival time of 67 months vs. the HAI alone group with a median of 39 months. The 5-year CSS rate was 60% in the antineoplastons/HAI group vs. 32% in the HAI alone group. Patients in the antineoplastons/HAI group experienced cancer recurrence more often in a single organ as opposed to multiple organs compared with the HAI alone group. More patients in the antineoplastons/HAI group compared with the HAI alone group experienced full stomach (8 vs. 2; P = .044) and phlebitis (6 vs. 0; P < .024), the only significantly different adverse events between the two groups. Serious toxicity was not observed in the antineoplastons/HAI group.

“The administration of antineoplaston AS2-1 may be clinically effective as a postoperative adjuvant therapy in liver metastasis from colorectal cancer,” the researchers concluded. “The results of this study have warranted the initiation of a new randomized, controlled clinical trial of adjuvant therapy using antineoplaston A10 and AS2-1 combined with HAI after hepatectomy in patients with colorectal metastasis to the liver.” – by Melinda Stevens

///

One Orac at ScienceBlogs claims it's hokum, and describes what they see as charlatan fake science, excessive whining about research suppression: Dr. Hidaeka Tsuda demonstrates that antineoplastons don’t work against colon cancer – Respectful Insolence

Here is a recently posted video on the same channel that did a movie about him: Dr. Tsuda explains 27 years of ANP research + randomized study now published on Vimeo:

Read the peer-reviewed randomized study of Antineoplastons: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0120064

The day has finally come, all the complaining from the establishment about the lack of "independent randomized studies of Antineoplastons" will have to end. Will the NCI, ACS, and Wikipedia allow their websites/postings on Antineoplastons to be updated? Don't count on it. The only down side is, the Japanese were forced to "water down" and "downplay" the significance of the studies in exchange for allowing it to be published by the team of oncology peer-reviewers at PLoS ONE (Public Library of Sciences) - PLoS ONE might catch some heat for doing the right thing here, they reviewed this manuscript and kept watering it down for over a YEAR before accepting it for publication. The Japanese were forced to say things like "Overall survival was not statistically improved" even though the survival was DOUBLE in the Antineoplastons group. They also had to say "Antineoplastons (A10 Injection and AS2-1) might be useful" - instead of "Is useful", etc. Baby steps, we guess.

/////

After all the billions of dollars thrown into the system I really hope that one of these therapies pans out and actually reaches the glorious licensed medical market. Will it be a colorful iconoclastic character like Burzynski or a improbably capable and idealistic crew at the helm of a big pharma company?

Within 10 or 15 years it should be possible to get a 3D printed personal dose of peptides to combat cancer alongside careful distillations of active compounds in cannabis. Why not? Shut down the war machine, slash the marketing budget and get on with it, people…

Minnesota Drug Recognition Expert / Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) lawsuit depositions released; unscientific & abusive program used to punish people in court

After many months under the radar a lot of lawsuit testimony from police has been published in Minnesota's surprising DRE police training abuse scandal.

The relevant Drug Recognition Evaluator police officers got grilled under cross examination and said all kinds of things which undermine the basic scientific integrity which everyone assumes is behind programs like this. I am hoping this spurs more media attention. I haven't had much time to review these but I think they will reward your attention with any number of insane facts.

Occupy Minnesota participant Michael Bounds describes the experience late on the original video:

dre-michael-bounds.png

There go two subjects:

dre-chisago.png

The new depos and funny word indexes are here: http://www.hansenlawoffice.com/DRE%20Depositions/Our%20depositions/ as PDFs.

Previously: MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza - YouTube ( May 2 2012 )

Orig Writeup: MK Occupy Minnesota: Drugs & the DRE Program at Peavey Plaza | HongPong.com ( May 2 2012 )

BCA internal files primary reporting: MK Occupy Minnesota: The Drug Recognition Evaluator BCA Investigation files | HongPong.com (Nov 12 2012 )

A few more elements on the semi-suspended MN Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program | HongPong.com (Nov 26 2012)

2012 BCA internal report first published here: http://hongpong.com/files/dre/DRE-investigation-BCA.pdf (78MB)

Here is attorney Nathan Hansen's latest post on the matter:

Depositions of Drug Recognition Evaluator defendants, drugs used for testing taken from teenagers in a park, homeless targeted, scientific method not understood by certified DRE, official reports falsified - March 25 2015

I have posted before on the blog about the civil lawsuit in which I represent Plaintiffs who were picked up by Minnesota law enforcement, driven near the airport, and given street drugs and told to use them. Subsequently, various clinical tests were run on these Plaintiffs by law enforcement to provide training so these officers could become "Drug Recognition Evaluators." Each officer needed to have 15 test subjects, and credit could be given for being a recorder for another officer doing the tests. Myself and co-counsel Alan Milstein took the depositions of several of these defendants wherein they testified under oath. I have now posted these depositions on my file server for anyone to review, in the public interest.

As an attorney who has done a lot of criminal defense work, in addition to bankruptcy and civil litigation, I have long maintained that the DRE program is nothing but preposterous unscientific charlatanism. Please understand the opinion of one of these officers can get you arrested and jailed sight on scene. However, do not take my word for it, here is testimony from one of the Drug Recognition Evaluators wandering the streets and arresting people presently, Deputy Bryce Schuenke, formerly of the Dakota County Sheriff's Office and now with the Prior Lake Police Department, who holds a "Master of Science in Public Safety" from St.Cloud State University, from page 17 of his deposition:

Q (by me): "Did you rely on, like, any learned treatises or scientific textbooks during the classroom portion of your training?"

A (Schuenke): "I didn't use scientific textbooks, no."

Q (by me): "There's no scientific textbooks used in the DRE training?"

A (Schuenke): "We had manuals, but I don't know if they came from a scientific source or not."

Q (by me): "What is an Institutional Review Board?"

A (Schuenke): "I don't---I don't know."

Q (by me): "What is a controlled experiment?"

A (Schuenke): "I am familiar with the term, but wouldn't be able to explain it."

Q (by me): "What is the scientific method?"

A (Schuenke): "Again, same"

Q (by me): "You don't know?"

A (Schuenke): "I don't know."

I reiterate that this is a person who Minnesota Courts qualify to testify in Court about whether or not someone is under the influence of drugs. His clinical opinion can land someone in jail very quickly and his testimony used to prove someone's intoxication.

These depositions are filled with wonderful information about the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program. There are many stories in these depositions that are very newsworthy. One of the overarching themes of this program is that test subjects were given fake names, presumably to make sure their actual participation in this program could be concealed at a later date. Official DRE logs are replete with fake names and falsified police reports (fascinating how Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman forgot about Minnesota Statute 609.505, falsely reporting crime, in his charging decision relating to the DRE program). Officers testified under oath at these depositions that they put false names and false events in their official reports.

Another issue that the Plaintiffs were wondering about was the source of the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects for these police experiments. For such a scientific program that trains officers to put people in jail by waving their hands around and looking at them, one would think there would be very careful controls and dosages for the drugs (I am setting aside for the moment that it is a farce to administer drugs to people and then test to conclude that they are under the influence of drugs). However, consistent with the entire Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator Program, the method the drugs were obtained is entirely unscientific, and there is no knowledge about what the drugs administered actually contain. In his deposition testimony, while questioned by my co-counsel, Alan Milstein, Hutchinson Officer explained how the drugs administered to the Plaintiff test subjects were obtained:

From page 15 of deposition of Karl Willers:

Q (by Milstein): "And there was at least one instance where you gave one of the people you evaluated Marijuana, correct"

A (Karl Willers): "Yes"

Q (by Milstein): "Was it only one instance?"

A (Karl Willers): "No."

Q (by Milstein): "How many instances were there?"

A (Karl Willers): "Four or five."

Q (by Milstein): "And where did you get Marijuana?"

There is a set of questioning from Karl Willers' deposition on pages 16 to 19 that his classmates, Mark Hanneman and Peter Zajac, had obtained the marijuana by taking it from teenagers who were smoking it in a park around Farmington. Herein lies more of the rigorous science and testing behind the Minnesota Drug Recognition Evaluator program.

Here are the depositions I have posted, which are all of them:

Karl Willers, Hutchinson Police Department

Bryce Schuenke, Dakota County Sheriff's Office, now with Prior Lake Police Department

Daniel Lewis, Kanabec County Sheriff's Office

Kenneth Willers, DRE with Minnesota State Patrol

Michael Hadland, Fillmore County Sheriff's Office

Nicholas Jacobson, Olmsted County Sheriff's Office

Steve Schultz, Kanabec County Sheriff

Riccardo Munoz, Minnesota State Patrol

These depositions and their contents speak for themselves. A reading of all of them together leads any reasonable mind to the conclusion that the DRE program is unscientific hocus pocus and its training methods constitute violations of civil rights. Further, the intentional targeting of Occupy Minnesota, the homeless, and other vulnerable populations is made clear in the testimony in these depositions.

I can be contacted at nathan.hansen@gmail.com

Unfortunately the program shifted to California where "transients" get coerced and abused some more, as recently reported: March 22 2015: CHP rounds up transients for police drug training | UTSanDiego.com: "They typically aren’t motorists – but people who are walking or sometimes riding bicycles who are arrested on suspicion of using illegal drugs, a misdemeanor. They are then brought to meet with trainees at certification sites, where interviews can last an hour or longer."

This disgusting story is another example of why it is essential to shut down this abusive war on drugs, wherein clearly young law enforcement officers are trained to fabricate information in reports -- which is unlawful, County Attorney Freeman -- and manipulate rather than aid the vulnerable with empathy. I hope that other activist orgs can see the light on this matter and work on this important goal in all haste, across the spectrum.

Disclosure: I worked professionally w Nathan on some web and design material previously. In the DRE matter I have not been compensated by him or any other media outlet, except by the shared gratification of defeating another abusive political program in my home state.

Doing my best "WTF" Palpatine style in drizzle..

DRE-palpatine.png

Also thanks to https://twitter.com/c1tyofFl1nt for noting there is even a trade association, http://datia.org , the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association. Let the measurements begin, one can only imagine the breathalyzers they break out at those conferences.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board: Public Comment on secretive counterintelligence operations under Executive Order 12333

An interesting call for comments here if anyone wants to pipe up about counterintelligence activities including whatever weird stuff targets Americans. Via Cryptome.org: PCLOB RFC on Spy Activities Under EO 12333

///

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 55 (Monday, March 23, 2015)]

[Notices]
[Pages 15259-15260]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-06537]

=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PRIVACY AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OVERSIGHT BOARD

[Notice-PCLOB-2015-01; Docket No. 2015-0001; Sequence No. 1]

Request for Public Comment on Activities Under Executive Order
12333

AGENCY: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

ACTION: Notice; Request for public comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: As announced at the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight
Board's (PCLOB) public meeting on July 23, 2014, the PCLOB is examining
counterterrorism activities conducted under the Executive Order
pertaining to the United States Intelligence Activities and their
implications for privacy and civil liberties. As such, the PCLOB seeks
public input to inform the Board's examination of activities conducted
under the Executive Order.

DATES: Written comments may be submitted at any time prior to the
closing of the comment period at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST)
on June 16, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments with the notice number PCLOB-2015-01
by the following methods:
Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit
comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by searching for ``Notice
PCLOB-2015-01''. Select the link ``Comment Now'' that corresponds with
``Notice PCLOB-2015-01''. Follow the instructions provided at the
``Comment Now'' screen. Please include your name, company name (if
any), and ``Notice PCLOB-2015-01'' on your attached document.
Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory
Secretariat Division (MVCB), ATTN: Ms. Hada Flowers, 1800 F Street
N.W., 2nd floor, Washington, DC 20405.
Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite
``Notice PCLOB-2015-01'' in all correspondence related to this case.
All comments received will be posted without change to
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal and/or business
confidential information provided.

[[Page 15260]]

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sharon Bradford Franklin, Executive
Director, 202-331-1986.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PCLOB seeks public input to inform the
Board's examination of activities conducted under Executive Order
(E.O.) 12333--United States Intelligence Activities. Although the Board
recognizes that much information about activities under E.O. 12333 is
classified and/or not publicly available, the Board seeks comments
regarding any concerns about counterterrorism activities conducted
under E.O. 12333 based on the information that is currently
unclassified and publicly available, as well as suggestions for
questions the PCLOB should ask as part of its inquiry.

Dated: March 16, 2015.
Lynn Parker Dupree,
Acting General Counsel, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
[FR Doc. 2015-06537 Filed 3-20-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6820-B3-P

VIDEO: Vermin Supreme & Jimmy McMillan QA 3-17-2015: 2016 presidential operations?!

jimmy-mcmillan.png

Will Vermin and Jimmy attempt to ontologically defeat the corrupt and bloated US political sphere again? High rent and oral hygiene will be back on the agenda in 2016, they hint in a QA.

Vermin Supreme and Jimmy McMillan answer questions after a free screening of "Who is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey" at the Paramount in downtown Boston. Director Steve Onderick answers questions, followed by Vermin and Jimmy over skype.

vermin-film.jpg

http://whoisverminsupreme.com - here's the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbf3rXJJLt8&feature=youtu.be .

The film has been continuously improved since previous versions I've seen, thanks to New Alliance in Cambridge for an all-new sound remastering, it's really got a polished, unusual audio experience.

Review earlier from DigBoston: WHO IS VERMIN SUPREME? AN OUTSIDER ODYSSEY

A nice review from the evening: Who Is Vermin Supreme? An Outsider Odyssey (2014) | Film Static: Criticism and Essay by Jarrod White

https://twitter.com/verminsupreme

To contact Jimmy McMillan, please email him at damnrentparty@gmail.com

[Yes I helped Steve distribute his film to kickstart supporters]

Original event URL.

CREATIVE COMMONS - REMIX WITH ATTRIBUTION

20150317_185806.jpg 20150317_185939.jpg 20150317_190136.jpg 20150317_190139.jpg 20150317_212906.jpg 20150317_212912.jpg

Barney Miller on Trilateralists in 1981 & war machine in 1978: Fictional arrested protester dialogue censored by ABC for linking Dow & DuPont to Vietnam War

I wasn't familiar at all with late 1970s series Barney Miller, but it's a striking contrast to today's much creepier police shows.

First, a funny clip just posted from Arrested Development's Jeffrey Tambor explains the Trilateral Commission, name checking David Rockefeller and George HW Bush, broadcast in 1981 (via VigilantCitizen naturally):


A few seasons earlier, the episode about arresting a Yippie style antiwar radical activated the network censors hours before broadcast. Here's a news clip explaining the ABC lawyers thought that referencing Dow & DuPont was potentially libelous:


barneymiller1.png


barneymiller2.png

Here's the full episode S5E11 "The Radical". References to Abbie Hoffman and Bill Ayers, while some of the cops debate when they'd been protesting the Vietnam War, and what on earth the war really meant:

The contrast between sheer mellowness of this show versus the aggression and blunt pacing of today's modern cop shows is so striking. Do you really think a fictional cop character would claim to have opposed a war years earlier than everyone else now?! A lot of comments on its wiki page and elsewhere that Barney Miller was seen by police officers as the most accurate cop show on TV for many years.

On kind of a throwback kick today, watching "Brotherhood of the Bell" (1970) as well. Sort of a pseudo Freemasonry California business leisure suit story. You expect Jim Rockford to pop out….

In case people haven't seen it, someone just put up Rockford Files Season 4 Episode 21 & 22 The House On Willis Avenue which covers something like a privatized NSA conspiracy.

Here's a wonderful excerpt wherein Rockford vents about the dangers of creeping privatized FBI agents and 'control file' style dirt digging:


Back in October 2013 I used the Rockford Episode to talk about the Harris Kingfish cell phone interceptor: Local cell phone spying KingFish stonewall: Minnesota law enforcement at BCA & Hennepin County refuse to disclose SIGINT cell phone snooping capabilities from NSA contractor Harris.

Delicious pro-carbon calories for Minnesota politicians could be yours: FREE FOOD from North Dakota coal flacks March 4th

The "Coalition for a Secure Energy Future", a front group for North Dakota government sponsored coal interests, is peddling free food to Minnesota politicians, so if you are feeling hungry on March 4th just head down to McGovern's Pub on West 7th and pretend to sell out your constituents!

free-coalfood4.jpg

Feel free to pass along this image wherever you like, originally from facebook.com/occupymn. If you want to do something socially useful with the dirty coal food, just bring it up the street to Dorothy Day.

Plenty more info is available here: Bluestem Prairie: Will scheduling woes keep lawmakers away from Coalition for a Secure Energy Future's free food?

I am compiling a bunch more information about the players in this network on LittleSis.org, hoping to get that done pretty soon. For network info see: Horse hockey: who's pushing the puck for new Coalition for a Secure Energy Future TV ad?

Feb 17 2015 MBTA Service Map! "Crippled" Boston mass transit system struggles as lines closed

Here is the service map for the Boston MBTA for Tuesday Feb 17 2015:

/// UPDATE Tues 12:15PM Redditors have provided more detail about what they are experiencing today. Summarized: Train is working on Orange Line at Ruggles. Red line is running to JFK. "the T isn't running at NeU or Symphony." Oak Grove to Sullivan should be textured (better). ///

MBTA-train-map-feb17-2015.jpg

You may reuse the above image. License Creative Commons Sharealike w Attribution and if possible a tweet to @HongPong. Thanks!

This is based off mbta.com/winter info as of 10:30PM Feb 16 2015. Half the train cars are out of service right now, so active lines are very limited. Textured areas have some kind of "limited" or shuttle bus service. This is just an estimation and who knows if it will really happen this way.

With the exception of the Green Line D Riverside line, most of the older lines in the city have fared poorly and it has been estimated it will be 30 days (without snow) for full service to return. I think I will make a few of these maps during this transportation crisis.

Severe Weather Update - February 16-17, 2015

What to expect when winter weather hits.

As efforts continue to recover from weeks of severe winter weather, the MBTA is announcing it will provide a limited schedule of rail and bus service tomorrow, Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Service will available on the Red Line from Alewife to Andrew Stations with limited substitute bus service on the Ashmont and Braintree branches. Trains between Alewife and Andrew are scheduled to arrive/depart about every six to seven minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Braintree and Andrew and between Ashmont and Andrew.

Orange Line service will be available from Sullivan to Back Bay Stations with limited substitute bus service from Oak Grove to Sullivan Stations and from Back Bay to Forest Hills Stations. Trains between Sullivan and Back Bay are scheduled to arrive/depart every 12 minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Oak Grove and Sullivan and between Forest Hills and Back Bay.

Green Line service will operate between Kenmore and Lechmere Stations with limited trolley service operating in both directions on the D branch. Trains between North Station and Kenmore will depart/arrive every five to six minutes.

Along the B branch, Route 57 buses will make stops between Packards Corner and Kenmore Stations. There will be no bus service between Packards Corner and Boston College.

Along the C branch, limited shuttle bus service will be available between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore.

Along the E branch, Route 39 buses will make stops between Northeastern and Heath St. Stations.

The Blue Line is serving all stations between Wonderland and Bowdoin. Trains will depart/arrive every seven to eight minutes.

Service remains suspended on the Mattapan Trolley Line. A limited bus replacement service will be available.

Commuter Rail will operate on a modified weekday schedule, but with significant delays and several canceled trips. Revised schedules are available below.

Buses, including the Silver Line, will operate on a weekday schedule with delays due to traffic and road conditions.

Please note that parking in MBTA garages will continue to be permitted, but availability may be limited. Lynn, Beverly, Salem, and Wonderland Garages will continue to have low availability. Additional parking availability information can be found here. Illegally parked vehicles in garages that are found to be blocking pedestrian access ways and/or traffic lanes will be subject to towing. Passengers are encouraged to park in garages only when leaving their vehicle on the premises overnight.

MBTA passengers may also park in available Massport parking at Suffolk Downs Station and board Massport employee shuttles either to Airport terminals or to the Blue Line Airport Station.

As always, the latest service information can be found at the MBTA's winter resource hub:mbta.com/winter. Customers are also urged to check T-Alerts regularly for updates or to join our 106,000 followers on Twitter @MBTA. For Commuter Rail updates, we ask commuters to follow the MBTA Commuter Rail on Twitter @MBTA_CR.

/////

Even the Vermont National Guard is involved in snow removal right now.

Background: The MBTA's long, winding, infuriating road to failure - Metro - The Boston Globe

MBTA may need 30 days to return to full service - Metro - The Boston Globe

Scott: MBTA service won't be fully restored for 30 days | Weather - WCVB Home

2012: What Exactly is the MBTA's 'Big Dig Debt'? | Boston Magazine ($5.2 billion!)

See also: Boston Using Prison Labor To Shovel Heaps Of Snow In Frigid Temperatures For Pennies | ThinkProgress

After another 16 inches of snow fell on the Boston area this weekend, bringing the city’s total snowfall for the past month up over seven feet, the beset city is turning to prison labor for help digging out.

A mixture of unionized city workers and state prison inmates worked to clear commuter rail tracks of snow on Monday in hopes of having trains running again when businesses reopen Tuesday after the President’s Day holiday. With air temperatures down in the single digits and wind chill values running below zero fahrenheit, the crews shoveled snow off of tracks and above-ground platforms at the Braintree station outside the city, a key outlying stop on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) red line.

Details of the prison labor system remain unclear as state corrections officials have not yet responded to requests for information. An MBTA spokesman confirmed to ThinkProgress that prisoners are assisting union workers but referred further questions to the state Department of Corrections.

The state has deployed inmates to shovel before, according to city Inspectional Services Department commissioner William Christopher, who said that two four-prisoner crews were sent out around the city earlier this month to clear paths to fire hydrants and shovel snow off handicapped access infrastructure. “The amount of snow that we got is record-setting and we’ve pulled out every resource from every possible way to clean this situation up,” Christopher said at the time. Further west, inmates in a community service program at a minimum-security prison have helped clear snow from other storms this winter, and as far back as 2011.

The MBTA’s turn to inmate labor likely means that the system’s contracts prohibit paying non-union members to do the work. The city is reportedly offering $30 an hour for union workers to shovel tracks, and supplementing those paid work crews with prisoners.

Also the politics of the MBTA transit system collapse (trains only operating in the tunnels today) vs new GOP Gov Charlie "No new taxes" Baker are super interesting to watch, because it's so blatantly clear MBTA is a cornerstone of the daily economy, now experiencing cascading failures on a daily/weekly basis.

I am amazed more people are not injured every day, it speaks to the skill and persistence of the tired union transit workers who poke away with shovels and picks at ice in the switches all these cold windy nights.

I don't know when it became acceptable to use the word "crippled" again since that seems to be on roughly the same perjorative word list as "retard". But all the news quotes today were centered on the word "crippled" anyway. I think "disabled" is the preferred nomenclature for technical systems. The "ableism" of the system is also pretty bad, even for people without major medical issues it is quite difficult to get around now.

Crowdfunding for Pine Ridge community food garden project

I just wanted to post the funding link and description for Pine Ridge Community Garden by Lou Brings Plenty - GoFundMe at http://www.gofundme.com/kf6chk. It is at $1350 after 14 days, not bad, with $4K goal. A very practical plan. If only thousands of dollars went to stuff like this instead of political spending.

See also "Isabelle's Garden" | Sundance Short Film Challenge on Vimeo - 8min video.

///////

From the description:

“We must continue to dream and vision the wisest intelligence we live by.” – Leonard Crow Dog

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a food desert, where many tribal members still do not have access to fresh produce and a nutritious diet. The Federal Commodity Foods Program serves food high in fat, sugar, and preservatives, causing Oglala Lakota people to suffer from epidemic levels of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Average life expectancy in Pine Ridge is 45 years old.

Sioux Nation is the only grocery store on the reservation and was caught selling spoiled food in 2012. Prices at Sioux Nation are gouged by a company in California, exploiting tribal members with a median income of $2,600 per year. The next closest grocery store is 120 miles away in Rapid City. With healthy food so scarce, Oglala Lakota people are in need of a revolution to reclaim food sovereignty.

Ota Au is an independent Lakota non-profit organization, with a vision of permaculture gardening, sustainable economy, renewable energy, and spiritual enlightenment. The first step of our strategy is to build a community garden on a family allotment in the foothills of Porcupine, South Dakota. We will provide fresh fruit and vegetables for at least 100 people, and the rest will be canned and used for wintertime feasts.

Ota Au needs funding to construct a rain harvesting system that will provide water for daily use and irrigation for the garden. The design is affordable by using gutters, filtering out debris, and connecting 55-gallon drums with PVC piping for storage. Well-water will be used as little as possible because the Oglala Aquifer will by dry within 30 years at the current rate of consumption. Water is life, and protecting sacred water for future generations is most important.

The property is located along the banks of Porcupine Creek, a tributary of the White River downstream from a uranium mine, bombing range, toxic waste dumps, and factory farms. Right now acquiring clean topsoil, compost, and organic fertilizer to remediate the soil is top priority for Ota Au, as there may be radioactive heavy metals and pesticides present. The soil must be purified and revitalized before ecological balance can be restored.

The garden will be built into raised beds, traditional row planting, and three sisters mounds. Traditional rows are used for maximum yield, but Ota Au must be careful not to grow produce in contaminated soil. Raised garden beds are a low-cost solution as they are grown above ground and built with untreated wood pallets, ensuring there is no contamination in the food. Three sisters mounds of corn, beans, and squash provide a balanced diet and ideal growing environment. The corn creates a structure for the beans to climb up, the beans nourish the soil with nitrogen, and the squash leaves protect the soil by acting as a living mulch.

Built to acknowledge the four directions, to the east side of the garden will be a trellis built from ash saplings and used to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons. There will also be potato towers, built with wire, lined with newspaper, and simply designed to add dirt as potato stems grow. Roots form on the buried stems and produce a high yield of potatoes. To the west of the garden will be rows of sunflowers lining the sweat lodge, which is used for ceremonies to receive spiritual guidance. Sunflowers represent the plant nation’s constant prayer to the sun, followed by Lakota people in the four day sundance.

To the south will be the permaculture garden, located inside an underground greenhouse. Year-round gardening is difficult to manage in a climate that ranges from 110 to -50 degrees. Fortunately temperatures are naturally warmer and easier to regulate underground. The greenhouse will be dug into the side of a south-facing hill to maximize sunlight from summer and winter solstices. The foundation is built of stone and gravel, walls are sealed with compressed earth bricks, the roof is covered with plastic sheeting, and irrigation is provided by a drainage system connected to rain barrels. Hardy crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and cabbage will be grown in the underground greenhouse, providing produce for more than 20 people throughout the four seasons.

To the north side will be the rain garden, where Ota Au cultivates medicines such as sage, Echinacea, and yarrow. Herbs are used as preventative medicine in Lakota culture, treating the spiritual and scientific relationship between human beings and disease. Oglala Lakota people cannot rely on Indian Health Services, as they are under-funded, under-staffed, and have few preventative health programs. Many tribal members live without healthcare because of the travel distances required to access Indian Health Services. Located only a few miles from downtown Porcupine, Ota Au plans to build an earth home for practicing traditional medicine. With mud and straw for the building blocks, the structure will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

In its first year Ota Au will build a foundation, learning how to build a garden with recycled materials and working with compressed earth brick technology to construct housing. The earth houses are mold-free, preventing a major health risk on the reservation. Sixty percent of homes in Pine Ridge are infested with deadly black mold and need to be burned down. The on-reservation housing crisis is severe, and some two-bedroom homes shelter thirty or more people at a time. The long-term goal is to empower families by teaching them build earth houses complete with a permaculture garden, so they can teach their tiospaye or extended family this sustainable way of life.

Ota Au expresses deep gratitude to allies who are able to give what they can, when they can. A $20 donation will help buy heirloom seeds needed to develop a seed saving program, which already includes indigenous species of corn, beans, and squash. $50 will buy us by gardening tools such as hoes, pickaxes, and shovels necessary for construction and maintenance. $100 will cover the cost of hoses, sprinklers, and timers necessary for irrigation. $250 will supply lumber, PVC piping, plastic sheeting, and 55 gallon drums needed for the rain harvesting system, greenhouse, and raised garden beds. Please support the vision of Ota Au to bring health and wellness to the Pine Ridge reservation community.

“We need to work on coming back to reality, which is a natural way of life. This economic breakdown is reality, and it’s going to get worse. It’s going to force people to plant. It’s going to force people out of the city. It’s going to force people to live off the Earth.” – Floyd Buffalo Hand

MN Legislature 2015: A bill for lowering fees on bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota: HF 652

Bankruptcy is a process that the modern banking establishment has made a point of hiding in plain sight these days, since it lets regular people cut loose tons of debt that would otherwise make a mess of their life. Unfortunately student loans are not dischargeable this way, because it's better to keep graduates on the hamster wheel and prop up the higher ed debt bubble.

I am cross posting this post w permission from Nathan Hansen - it covers a nasty local fee required to clear more local debts even after a federal bankruptcy has been accepted and put in motion. via Nathan M. Hansen's Blog: Rep. Mary Franson introduces HF 652: A bill that helpsa lot of consumer bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota:

One of the major parts of my law practice is consumer bankruptcy and litigation in bankruptcy court related to consumer bankruptcy. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and have been for several years.

Bankruptcy is a Federal proceeding that a debtor can bring to absolve themselves of their debts. At the end of a bankruptcy proceeding, an honest debtor receives a "discharge" order signed by a United States Bankruptcy Judge. This discharge order absolves a debtor of most debts (there are exceptions to this, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this post). For example, credit card debts are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy.

I routinely communicate with my fellow members of NACBA in Minnesota. These are excellent attorneys with varying political beliefs as diverse as the general population. For the past few years, a serious issue has been plaguing bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota, our clients. The issue is debtors having to pay exorbitant filing fees to state court administrators to remove state court money judgments entered on debts that were already discharged in bankruptcy. While Minnesota Statute 548.181 Subd. 1 states that this removal of judgments should only cost $5.00 payable to the court administrator, the Minnesota State Court Administrator has taken the position that debtors with "default judgments" against them need to pay the full filing fee for an answer to a lawsuit in addition to the $5.00. In my home County of Ramsey, this extra fee is $327.00, for a total of $332.00 per judgment to be removed. If a debtor had several judgments, they could easily be forced to pay $1,000 to $2,000 or more to remove their judgments for debts that have already been discharged by the bankruptcy court. Regardless of political beliefs, almost anyone can run into financial troubles for any number of reasons.

Representative Mary Franson (R- Alexandria) listened to the concerns of Minnesota NACBA members about this common sense issue affecting all kinds of people in Minnesota. She introduced a bill today,HF 652, to address the bipartisan concerns of NACBA members for their clients. This bill will prohibit Minnesota Court Administration from charging these exorbitant filing fees to debtors for filing their applications for discharge of judgments, and keeps the fee at the $5.00 originally set forth by the Legislature.

My fellow NACBA members are absolutely elated that a bill has been brought to fix this injustice that keeps people from getting their fresh start to which honest debtors are entitled. Bankruptcy is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, so I do mean entitled. On behalf of Minnesota NACBA members who are my friends and colleagues, our sincere thanks to Rep. Franson for taking a leadership role on this issue.

Please contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support this very important bill that will have a very positive effect on Minnesotans trying to get back on their feet. If you want to know who represents you in the Minnesota Legislature, here is a link to a tool for finding out from the Minnesota Legislature's website.
If anyone has any questions about this issue, please feel free to e-mail me at nathan.hansen@gmail.com.

Also disclosure note I did some professional work w Hansen back in the day - nice guy to work with. You can say hi to him at twitter.com/nathanmhansen .

Barrett Brown Bonus Points; Listening for the Panaudicon; "Highlands Group" Pentagon incubator network for Intelligence kickstarts Google; Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter

Roundup post. Barrett Now on the Hook for Stratfor My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude - The Daily Beast [DailyBeast dropped the "you lost some rights" headline apparently as well]. Imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown gets his Declaration of Independence Back, but the +5 snark chainmail didn't do any good: cryptome.org/2015/01/brown-105.pdf

Federal sentencing agreements add and subtract points based on mysterious, occult rules derived from RolePlayingGames deep in the sweaty basement of the Federalist Society on the Yale campus.

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As you can see, both dexterity and Photoshop skilz qualify as "deadly skull" level 63 month sentence:

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Wait maybe this is actually the real one.

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Yes "Unauthorized Access Devices" is hyperlinks.

via ( Clever: D&D Character Sheet Styled Resume | Geekologie & http://www.mmorpg-info.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dd2.jpg )

Quinn Norton: We Should All Step Back from Security Journalism — The Message — Medium.

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Intelligence community incubated Google: A few pretty large chunks turned up with new work from Nafeez Ahmed via crowdfunding, focused on period around the time Google was developed at Stanford. One of the computer scientists involved disputes part of Ahmed's story (and prepended his PDF source at that URL w a new statement), but the overall scope of the Highlands Forum / Group, along with the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital development/incubator operations, reconfigures our understanding of intersecting tech and intelligence worlds.

SEE: HIGHLANDS GROUP - About

Highlands Group Overview The Highlands Group is an international consulting network that has been interestingly termed an "intellectual capital venture firm" with extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders frame issues and consider alternatives in the achievement of their objectives. The Highlands Group is a leader in helping clients to explore the edges for new ideas and approaches, create new networks, manage creativity, and succeed. The Highlands Group provides clients with a wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets, and special events planning and assistance. The Highlands Group assists clients in identifying new technologies, ideas, and opportunities. Highlands draws on a network of subject matter experts and facilitates cross-disciplinary gatherings of creative thinkers, working with clients to build strategies for execution. We are a small and agile firm, supported by the strengths of a global network of experts, and provide our clients with personal involvement and dedication. The Highlands Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Carmel Highlands, California, and is supported by a network of companies and independent researchers. It is truly a collaborative effort with great contributions from our sponsors; our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum, Singaporean Island Forum, the St. Michaels Forum, and the Information Engagement Forum.

Highlands Forum also has Thomas Barnett who provided crucial early post-9/11 backing for "core and gap" geopolitical dichotomy and 'rule setting' military hegemony quests within Pentagon circles. I read his book ages ago Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - The Pentagon's New Map: War & Peace in the 21st C. - it is important for understanding what framework got installed - as Ahmed digs up this was a transmission belt for Barnett and many others.

This gives earlier knowledge than the more wellknown roots of Google Earth as CIA's In-Q-Tel supported Keyhole -- they bought it partially from In-Q-Tel and turned in to Google Earth Enterprise as a platform for geospatial intelligence (GEO INT).

The powers that be have a strong interest in having one big Google (and Walmart, and foreign militant groups etc) - so it's no surprise that support among key figures - along with funding and special privileges, eventually contracts - to keep the tech scene consolidated.

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global

PART 1: How the CIA made Google — Medium

PART 2: Why Google made the NSA — Medium

There is plenty to go over here and many links - it is a lot of material to get through, but worth your time. See Clifton - CV - Technical Reports . The Anatomy of a Search Engine.

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Ubiquity of web enabled microphones: very much worth reading. If you don't know how the zeroday market works now especially. via https://panaudicon.wordpress.com/ - Jan 23 2015

Cross posted at Cryptome.org: On the Ubiquity of Web-enabled Microphones

Bruce Schneier (computer security expert, now also with the EFF) has remarked: "It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers and censors say, these systems put us all at greater risk."

There are two elements of this emerging technology that prompt me to regard this as bad civic hygiene: the omnipresence of these microphones, and the increasing lack of technological constraint allowing their compromise by state and other actors.

When I say "increasing lack of technological constraint", I am referring to several things: the descriptions of actions by agencies such as NSA, GCHQ, and the FBI who are specifically targeting smartphones (e.g. Tailored Access Operations of NSA and Remote Operations Unit of FBI), the exploding grey market for zero-day vulnerabilities dominated by state actors (especially the United States), and the emerging market for contractors who are developing exploits and software tools which enable to these vulnerabilities to be efficiently utilized. (Vupen in France, Hacking Team in Italy, Endgame Systems in U.S., FinFisher in the U.K., etc.)

Zero-day vulnerabilities are essentially unintentional backdoors that are discovered in various software applications every year by hackers. There are hundreds of these things discovered every year, and they are an unavoidable by-product of the software development cycle. They are a special kind of software bug that can permit a third-party who knows about them to take over a person's device. Sort of like skeleton keys which allow entry into anyone's device that happens to use the operating system or application in which the vulnerability is discovered, and they permit various degrees of power over a person's device. Programmers create exploits known as "zero-day exploits" to make use of these vulnerabilities. A market has emerged whereby these exploits are sold to the highest bidders, which, unsurprisingly, happen to be state actors. An exploit for the iPhone's iOS was sold for $500,000 at one point to an unknown buyer -- the NSA perhaps, but every intelligence agency on the planet is willing to pay top dollar for these things. Parties are willing to pay much more if it seems the exploit is likely to go undetected for some time and if it provides a lot of power over the device (laptop, smartphone, or tablet). However, when a vulnerability is discovered "in the wild" and reported to the software company (as should be the case), the value drops to near zero very quickly as the software company develops a "patch" and sends out security updates to consumers. In any event, the result of these activities over just the past decade is that sophisticated intelligence agencies, and certainly the FBI and NSA, now possess a revolving set of skeleton keys that allow them to reach inside virtually anyone's device on the planet. They don't need a warrant to do this, and they don't need permission from the telecoms or software companies. They don't have to notify any third parties that this is happening. This is a HUGE amount of power for any state actor to have.

Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI have been clamoring for mandatory backdoors into all these new web-based technologies, but there are fundamental technical issues with integrating a CALEA-type system with the internet (CALEA = Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994). Security experts are suggesting that the feds (including domestic agencies like the FBI) develop teams of hackers to perform wiretaps in the future. They are essentially recommending that the FBI develop their own Tailored Access Operations (an NSA hacking division). Installing a CALEA-type system will fundamentally weaken the security of the internet for everyone, they claim, and it's also not very practical because new technologies develop so rapidly. It will hinder innovation. (From later note: we now know the FBI has already developed their own hacking team with the Remote Operations Unit. Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU, discovered the Remote Operations Unit through former contractors' CVs on LinkedIn and put the pieces together.)

See this paper for background:

https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb/papers/GoingBright.pdf

"Going Bright: Wiretapping without Weakening Communications Infrastructure" | Steven M. Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Sandy Clark, Susan Landau | IEEE Security & Privacy 11:1, Jan/Feb 2013

My comments on the authors' analysis in this paper: OK, fine, mandatory backdoors are unacceptable. But if the feds' teams of hackers develop the power to enact wiretaps and bugs without having to ask for third-party permission, that will facilitate intelligence laundering on a wide scale. Sure, the information/evidence can't be presented in court. But they are more than happy to find other ways to use the information. Numerous examples of this have cropped up in the past year in the press (e.g. Special Operations Division -- a joint operation between DEA, FBI, and NSA -- slides were released a few months after Snowden to the press in a leak, but they were not part of the Snowden dump. Agents are specifically instructed to "recreate" the trail of an investigation to hide the original sources. They are effectively removing any poisonous taint from illegal surveillance by fabricating an independent source and never revealing the original surveillance. I believe they are generally handling narcotics cases, and the ACLU and EFF filed an Amicus brief late last year in a case in SF court as a result of the slides, because they suspected illegal surveillance might be taking place and intelligence was being laundered -- see United States of America v. Diaz-Rivera -- a very recent case, not sure what the outcome was at the suppression hearing. Google: Special Operations Division) ….

The "recreated trails" are also known as "parallel construction." Also here a good solution for analog switch on the mics for cell phones & also antenna & GPS seems a very constructive idea. Good deal. SEE DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations | Electronic Frontier Foundation August 2013.

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Besides the NYC Homeland Security grant madness, there is naturally a Rainbow Family in Montana Homeland Security money story now too: Police Seek DHS Grant to Deal With "Extremist" Hippy Group Which Stresses 'Non-violence, Peace and Love' - via Paul Joseph Watson.

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Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter: Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing && Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing

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