Monday, June 6, 2011

Conspiracy Con 2011: In Xanadu Did Kubla Khan/Satanic Mass Decree…

Douglas D. Dietrich is a striking presence. Part Chinese and Japanese, his face is one that you don't forget. If you sent to central casting for an oriental despot, or a James Bond villain, they'd send in Douglas Dietrich.

When you talk with him privately, Dietrich seems a gentle soul, with the antique gallantry of a bygone age. He's a veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, born in Formosa to a Navy family.

I pick up a sense of betrayal behind his history and I ask about it. He feels his father was mistreated by the VA medical system and that the VA denied medical problems Dietrich suffered from his tours of duty in Iraq. This is hardly improbable.

Dietrich is also a compelling story-teller, and his rococo tales of diabolical practices at the highest levels of military power would stand to make him quite successful as a sci-fi novelist, scriptwriter, or graphic novelist. Except Deitrich doesn't present his dark stories as fiction.

Dietrich covers a lot of ground in his rapid-fire presentation. One minute we're in 12th century Japan, the next in 1945 Okinawa.

"In 1281 Kubla Khan invaded Japan [with]…over 70,000 Mongol marines armed with the Turkish composite crossbow…There was nothing the emperor could do but get down on his knees and pray to the ancestors. and they… answered. " Dun-de-dun-dun. "That was the kamikaze. The winds on that day were 150 mph and every single man on that fleet died. The Japanese told the Americans 'we can do that again.'"

This is a promising start for an Indiana Jones movie. But, instead of Hollywood-brand escapism, the next hour and a half is a whirlwind roundup of – I'm putting this as plainly as possible – satanic occult practices at the San Francisco Presidio army base, with tangential forays into Roswell and Nazi Germany. Before we're done, we'll make pit stops at the Dresden firebombing, the Holocaust, L.Ron Hubbard, and that noted Satanist Sammy Davis Junior.

Dietrich's central focus is Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, who, he says "served most of his time in Vietnam in his satanic chaplaincy…[and]wrote the diabolicon, a series of quatrains that were channeled through Lt. Col Aquino [via] seven demonic spirits."

I wonder what you call it when storytellers fail to distinguish between themselves and their stories. I don't mean to be flippant.

There's a pattern here that suggests something neurological. Conspiracy Con presentations share two characteristics: First, they're vast, unorganized data dumps. Second, individual sentences (the datum) have the outward characteristics of being statements that communicate information, but on examination are empty of content.

For example here's once-and-future-dentist Lennie Horowitz:

"It is the amount of disinformation and fear that undermines our ability to act …I know for sure that on the spiritual plane they're regulating the church of Satan through the Rothschilds. They're acting through infiltrators. And these infiltrators may not even know themselves that they are acting through MKULTRA. That's the only way I may be able to know that you are mind-controlled."

Or this from galactic historian and UFO abductee Stewart Swerdlow:

"The Illuminati are at the top of their food chain. It doesn't really matter who's in control…It's who allows them to be in control. If everybody takes responsibility for themselves and eliminates the piece of what they're projecting, the illuminati will have no power over you and will disappear from the face of the earth forever."

Or try this from chemtrail theorist Sofia Smallstorm:

When we look at an organization called MITRE, .you go to their website, and their mission is to set the goals and the template for the…IRS….and they contract with operation cloverleaf… and if you google USA today for  May 12…the reporters talk about a thousand particles on the head of a pin….Get those letters and know those individuals. Those are the cross directors of the enemy we have to deal with today."

Or this from self-described former Illuminati witch Doc Marquis (who suffers from the misfortune of an Elmer Fudd-like lisp): 

"Plans are in the making between 2013 and 2018….2012 is the smokescreen [he says "smokescween"]. I have fought over releasing this piece of information. What if on or about December 21st 2012 the usurper in the White House, who is a Muslim, is assassinated by a Jew…Everyone in the world would literally get involved. This is part of what may or may not happen."

Granted, I can't write fast enough to catch all the words, but, if anything, my redacted versions are more comprehensible than the originals.

But while I'm trying to capture this dizzying spectacle of flying information shrapnel, a war is brewing behind the scenes between conspiracist icons anti-vaccine crusader and former dentist Lennie Horowitz and shock-u-mentary maker and catastrophist Anthony Hilder.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Conspiracy Con 2011 - The Live Blog - True Otts and Conspiracy Gaming

My first stop is to catch the tail end of Len Horowitz and Sherri Kane who are ranting about…well, I'm not sure what. Something about "True Ott" and the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. "Now that we know that truth about this…we had to ask Brian Hall for extra security. We're not going to stay around for obvious reasons."

Horowitz is a dentist who found he could make a lot more money selling new age cures to the gullible than doing root canals. Unlike most of the people here, he's tan and fit and looks more likely to be shilling for Thigh Master than Rebirthing Ourselves in the Creator's Image.

I'm not even going to try to understand what's going on. So I duck out and stop by Steve Jackson Games where, in my now-softened frame of mind, I part with 40 devalued fiat federal reserve "dollars" for "Illuminati: The Game of Conspiracy."

The card deck features eight illuminati cards – The Bavarian Illuminati, The Gnomes of Zurich, etc. – 83 "group" cards – fast food chains, the FBI, etc. – 15 "special" cards – market manipulation, murphy's law – two black dice (with white dots), and a 16-page instruction book. The object of the game is to control the world. That's about as far as I get.

The more interesting part of the conversation is with a young man named Christopher Gordon, who looks like the host of an MTV music video countdown but who is in real life a mortician. His take on his profession is anything but grim.

Indeed, we're all going to die and Gordon sees his role as supplying a more natural and affordable way to go than the American Way of Death. Before I leave he presses a handful of DVDs on me in hopes that he can persuade me to see the light. One is titled "Henrick Palmgren interviews Michael Tsarion, David Icke PLUS 67 OTHER INTERVIEWS IN 8 DAYS OF AUDIO ON MP3'S."

If nothing else, this cabal promotes a degree of multi-partisanship unseen anywhere else in the political spectrum. I ask: Where else can you find Phyllis Schlafley's Eagle Forum cheek-by-jowl with Democrats Against UN Agenda 21, the MUFON Symposium, and the Green Party?

The next stop is Douglas Dietrich, where I take 2,000 words of notes and wonder about the origins of psychosis. 

Conspiracy Con 2011 - The Live Blog

Dateline: Conspiracy Con, Santa Clara, CA
June 4, 2011 

Ominously, it's raining today. Really raining. Now, heavy rain is an extremely low probability event in Santa Clara in June. And you might be tempted to point to it as evidence of (take your pick):
  1.           Global warming
  2.          The global chemtrail conspiracy
  3.          Project HAARP global weather manipulation conspiracy
Which makes it a perfect note on which to begin live-blogging from Conspiracy Con. That's because it illustrates the predominant fallacies that will be on display for the next 48 hours:

o   Sweeping generalization: It's June and it's raining in Santa Clara. Rain is unusual in June in Santa Clara. Therefore, something unusual is going on.
o   Straw man: Weather manipulation would cause unusual storms. We are having an unusual storm. Therefore the weather is being manipulated.
o   Causal oversimplification: Global warming is the cause of unseasonable weather, rather than a cause.
o   False cause: It's raining. Conspiracy Con is this weekend. Therefore Conspiracy Con caused the rain. 

Actually, the 2010-2011 rainfall year has been – get ready for this – exactly average. And while heavy rain in June is a low-probability event, it's not a zero probability event. In fact, while May 2011 temperatures averaged 7 degrees below normal, so did May 2010 temperatures. And, rainfall for the year at the end of May was slightly below normal.

In other words, today's weather proves exactly…nothing.

So with that note of skepticism, it's time to take a deeper dive into the murky pool that is Conspiracy Con.  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shell Game or Prudent Planning? The latest Santa Clara RDA money shuffle

Despite the ostensible urgency that demanded an emergency meeting of the Santa Clara RDA/Stadium Authority Monday to transfer $4.5 million to a SF 49ers business entity called Stadco, no one seems to know who called the emergency. 

"[I] Can't pinpoint exactly who was the driving force," is how one member of the City staff -- who have been working on the details of the resolution round-the-clock since Thursday -- answered a direct question from Jamie McLeod. Details of the 26-page proposal -- plus about 50, mostly critical, emails -- were not made public until 5:10 p.m. Monday afternoon. 

Despite the fact that no one is quite clear whose idea it was, the City Council was crystal clear in approving it; with Council Members Lisa Gillmor, Pat Kolstad, Pat Mahan, Jamie Matthews, and Kevin Moore voting in favor, and Will Kennedy and Jamie McLeod opposing. "This is an excellent document," said Council Member Kolstad in his ringing endorsement of the proposal.

Predevelopment Agreement for Stadium Site Infrastructure
The move is the latest in a series of efforts to shield money that the City has allocated to redevelopment agency (RDA) projects. Like many other RDAs, Santa Clara is attempting to protect control over RDA assets by transferring them to city government. However, as the legislation continues to evolve, some fear that transfers between municipal agencies may not secure the assets. Their logic is that the only way to protect RDA money may be to put it in private -- not public -- hands. 

The proposal currently on the table in Sacramento moves control of redevelopment assets to currently unspecified local "successor agencies." And those successor agencies are not necessarily city governments. This raises the specter of successor agencies selling parks, libraries and fire stations to private owners.

Further, it's difficult to pinpoint just how the tax increment pie will be sliced, should the RDAs shut down. (Tax increments are the central funding mechanism for redevelopment, and divert the increase in tax revenues resulting from redevelopment back to the RDA). Presumably, after the first year -- where money will flow back to the state to close the budget deficit -- any revenue above what's needed to pay off debt will be divided by the same formula that is used for distributing other tax revenue. 

What won't happen is that all the RDA assets will flow into municipal coffers, although school districts will see more revenue. Combined with California's zany school district boundaries, this fans the fires of  a zero-sum competition between school districts and municipal governments as each vies for a bigger slice of a diminishing pie. 

For example, if the San Jose RDA is abolished, Santa Clara Unified School District will receive its proportional share of north San Jose property taxes. Currently, those property taxes are diverted by the San Jose RDA, leaving SCUSD to deal with a potential doubling of its student population with no additional revenue. Either SCUSD loses or San Jose 

Santa Clara voters approved a ballot measure last June to go forward with a 49ers stadium project. However, the Stadium Authority and Stadco are still negotiating the project's terms and conditions and  the complex financing plan for construction has yet to be completed or approved. Should the project fall through, "the advanced funds that are spent for makeready work will not be recoverable," explains City staff analysis of the measure.

The "predevelopment funding" aims "to ensure that the $4 million previously earmarked for this project, as well as the project tax increment are protected and are used for the purposes which the Council has identified and the voters have confirmed," said Deputy City Manager Carol McCarthy, in presenting the proposed resolution.

The $4.5 million that the Santa Clara Stadium Authority (SA) will advance to Stadco will pay for "make ready" infrastructure such as demolition, clearing and grading, design, relocating high voltage transmission lines, and regulatory compliance on city-owned land. This infrastructure would be needed for any development on the city-owned land, according to McCarthy. The site is currently leased by Great America for overflow parking.

"It is expected that the City, as owner of the Stadium site, will benefit from the work installed on and adjacent to the site," continues the analysis, "however it is possible that the work may not have value for future development, depending upon the nature of future development on the site."

All of this presents unacceptable risk for Santa Clara say opponents of the measure."The 49ers LLC is an entertainment business operating in our city," Santa Clara resident Clysta McLemore told the City Council. "It is not a bank. Our property tax dollars belong in a public agency to be used for the public good. Tonight's proposal opens the city to absorbing more front-end risk while our city services are being cut, city employees are being furloughed, and school budgets are being decimated," adding that "Measure J didn't discuss predevelopment costs."

"What it looks like from the outside … [is that] you are acting in parochial interests to sequester funds that are ours, not the team's," City resident William Ray warned the Council. "And in doing so you are acting against the interests of the people of California, of which we are members. The idea of racing the clock ahead of the governor and legislature is unconscionable," adding that in his previous home of Palm Beach County, FL, three recent county commissioners -- Tony Masilotti, Mary McCarty, and Warren Newell – are currently serving federal prison sentences for corruption and bribery.

Summary of pre-development funds transfer:
Stadco Predevelopment Costs
  • Stadco has incurred a lot of predevelopment costs to date
  • Stadco will advance the sa the $40 million for the benefits of SA
  • Predevelopment costs includes SA operating costs

Payment of Initial Make-Ready Funds:
  • SA advances $4 million to Stadco upon execution of agreement
  • Kept in separate account along with any interest earned
  • May be used only for make-ready work and SA operating costs in accordance with appropriated budget
  • SA will hold RDA potion of development fees in separate account
  • Funds returned/retained by SA if stadium is not built

Does the Monday's Emergency RDA Meeting Violate the Brown Act?

One question that is begged by Monday's short-notice RDA meeting is whether the meeting violates the California's 1953 Brown Act, mandating that public agencies conduct their business in a way that is open to public scrutiny. 

The Brown act requires agencies to post meeting agendas at least 72 hours in advance, in a "freely accessible" location, and to describe each item of business – including items discussed in closed sessions – with "enough information to enable members of the general public to determine the general nature of subject matter." Further, public agencies and boards may not discuss, nor take action on, items that aren't on the agenda.

The law allows three exceptions to the agenda requirements: emergencies, a situation requiring immediate action, and items posted on previous agendas. Closed sessions are permitted to discuss personnel matters, pending litigation, real estate negotiation, and labor negotiations. Minutes from closed sessions are exempt from public disclosure rules.

Technically, the meeting and a one-page agenda were posted on the City website Friday, just within the 72 hour limit. But Friday March 18, 2011 was a furlough day -- City offices were closed. However, according to the City attorney, the one page agenda that was posted on Friday does comply with state law. 

"The people, in delegating authority," says the introduction to the Brown Act, "do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know." 
The administrative panic about the threat of RDA shutdown might lead some to think that Santa Clara's City Council doesn't agree.