Monday, August 20, 2018

Japheth Campbell, Libertarian Candidate for US Senate

Austin Petersen did not get the Republican nomination for US Senator from Missouri. Josh Hawley did.  Hawley was endorsed by Trump and given funds from the National Republican Party, and he is a shill for the Powers-that-Be. I am not supporting Josh Hawley. I am not voting for him. He is no better than Claire McCaskill. So  now there is really only one viable choice: Japheth Campbell.

Japheth Campbell in a recent interview with Julia Hann and Me

Here is a recent interview that Japheth Campbell gave. Listen. Learn. And then make up your own mind. November is not that far away. Japheth Campbell will be on the ballot. Austin Petersen will not. Decide for yourself.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Fourth of July Message

What people believe about the existence of their gods is less important than whether they believe that it is ethical to fight, kill and die for their freedom. That is why someone who believes in an aggressive god that may not actually exist can be more effective sometimes than someone whose pacifist upbringing prevents him from fighting for freedom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Vote on Water Fluoridation in Houston, Missouri

May has been an active month for us here in Missouri. The news is full of political outcomes every day. Today, for instance, we heard that Governor Greitens would be resigning.

Only last month he was here in person at the Texas County Lincoln Day event. But for those of us following local developments, the biggest news is that the City Council of Houston, Missouri voted to place on the November ballot the issue of whether fluoride should be taken out of the water supply for the City of Houston, Missouri. 

This has come about due to the activism of Marie Lasater, who brought Dr. Paul Connett to Texas County, Missouri to speak to this issue.

Julia Hanna and I were able to interview Dr. Connett earlier this month. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Austin Petersen Comes to Texas County

Austin Petersen and Aya Katz in Licking, MO
April 21, 2018
Photo Credit: Marie Lasater
When I heard that Austin Petersen would be speaking at the Texas County Lincoln Day event held by the local Republican Party, I was determined to go. I got an invitation by email from Petersen's campaign, and I immediately RSVP'ed hat I was coming. For years I have been asking Austin to come and speak to the people of our county, and now it was finally happening. There was just one problem: I couldn't find a chimp sitter. While the event started at 4:00 pm, I could not leave the house until Bow had his dinner and was put to bed. So I was going to be very late.

This was not my first Lincoln Day event. In years past, my friend Marie Lasater invited me to attend and introduced me to Sheriff Mack, who was the keynote speaker that year.

Brad North, Marie Lasater. Sheriff Mack, another lady and myself.
April 14, 2014

At the time, back in 2014, I was a volunteer for the Sheriff Mack team, and I received a free ticket to the  Lincoln Day event. This time I was going there on my own, and I was not even sure I would be able to catch up to Austin before he had to leave for his other event scheduled for that evening, Lincoln Day in Wright County.

Feeling that the odds were against me, on my way to Licking I sang part of Filk of Felix to myself.

by Aya Katz

I had written the lyrics to this filk song back in 1984 soon after the publication of John Steakley's Armor. I had had to crash a party at a science fiction con to show it to him. But Steakley is dead now. He passed away in 2010. And the fight continues. And luckily, I could tell right away when I arrived at the Licking High School parking lot that Austin Petersen was still there.

In fact, while most of the people were sitting at tables in the high school gymnasium and waiting for the ceremonies to begin, I spotted Austin on the sidelines, standing by bleachers. He recognized me at once as I approached. "Oh, hi, Aya!" I let him know that I had just now arrived, and he led me to one of the tables and said: "Let's sit here." And he sat right beside me, introducing me to Matthew Mahler, who was serving as his driver this week. Mahler offered me an Austin Petersen shirt, which I gladly accepted.

Austin and I talked a little about the current situation. Governor Eric Greitens was slated to make an appearance at this event, but would be leaving for Wright County as soon as his speech was over. As long as all the speeches proceeded either right before or right after the Governor's speech, each of the candidates could afford to stay and make them. They were all going to be late for the Wright County event, but if they kept the same schedule as the Governor, they could all be able to make both events.
"We're all going to be late to the Wright County Lincoln Day, but it's okay, as long as we arrive at the same time."
Clipping from the Licking News

About then, Marie Lasater came by our table and offered to take our picture together. She was working the room with a big, professional camera. I introduced Marie to Austin as our County Coroner and the Editor-in-Chief of the Licking News.  Austin thanked her publishing that piece the I wrote endorsing him. Marie said she was glad to, and that he had her support. Then we reminisced about the campaign of 2012 when both Marie and I were fighting for Ron Paul's candidacy at the County Convention.

Marie noted that the other candidate hoping for the Senate nomination, Attorney General  Josh Hawley, was not there at our event.

"Oh, he can't come," Austin said with a smile. "Greitens has a restraining order against him. So as long as the Governor attends this event, Hawley can't."

The Missouri Republican Party is embroiled in a number of bizarre scandals at the moment, and even though the Attorney General and the Governor are both Republican, you would not know that they were allies from the current situation.

Then came the pledge and the invocation and the singing of the National Anthem, and we were told in what order we should go and claim our dinner At this Austin go up and hurried to stand in the reception line. All the candidates who there stood en route to the food, and they shook the hands of each person passing through, engaging them in a cursory political pitch.  Those candidates who could not be there -- say, because there was a restraining order keeping them away -- were represented by an attractive proxy. The governor had not yet arrived, but was expected later.

When my turn came to go through the reception line, I was a little oblivious to what the goal was. I told the pretty lady canvassing for another senate candidate that I was voting for Austin Petersen, and she smiled and nodded. I was expecting to see Jason Smith, our congressman, but he did not seem to be there at the moment. There were a number of people who were running for state offices. One of them was very enthusiastic and wanted to talk.

"Hi, my name is Paul Curtman, I am running for Missouri State Auditor. Can I count on yout vote?" He shook my hand.

"Well, what does a state auditor do?"

"We just go through the books of every state agency, and if we find any discrepancies, then we will try to get new laws passed to correct the problem."

"You mean, every time you find that somebody has made an error in arithmetic, you'll pass a new law?

"Well, no. Not every time. I mean, if it was a genuine mistake, and, yes, sometimes people make honest mistakes, then no. But if we find it was part of a scheme to commit fraud..."

"But aren't there enough laws about fraud?"

Curtman started to answer, but just then Austin swooped in and gave me a big hug, so big that I could see nothing more, I was so engulfed in his embrace. "Aya, you're great! You're the best," he said and gently moved me along down the chow line.

Apparently, we had been holding up the reception line, and Austin very tactfully repaired that. He did this so gently that nobody's feelings were hurt. I was glad to be out of that discussion, anyway. The only reason I was talking to Curtman was that he was talking to me, but I just did not know how to stop. Reception lines confuse me at weddings and funerals, too.

After I finished eating, I noticed that all the important people were leaving the gymnasium and going out into the parking lot, as were some obvious plain clothes security, who had earphones connected to wires that led into their suits.

I saw Austin standing with Matt by their bus, but just then Marie came out and engaged me in conversation. "Everyone is waiting for the governor to arrive," she said. "Don't worry, we won't miss anything, because nothing is going to happen until he gets here. And we'll see him when he comes in." So we kept talking about county politics and local gossip, until I started to notice that all the other people who had been standing in the parking lot weren't there, anymore. There was an unusual hush in the air.  It was like that moment in the forest when all the birds stop chirping.

"Marie, are you sure the governor doesn't have some other way into the building? Because I have a feeling he's already here."

"Let me check," she said and asked a couple of police officers who were still out there. "Yeah, he's inside," she confirmed.

So in we went. I took out my phone and asked Austin if he would like me to livestream his talk. He said "yes, but wait," because the governor would be talking first. So I kept it on standby. The governor's speech was very upbeat. It was mostly about how the economy of Missouri had improved since regulations had been cut down. He barely mentioned anything at all about the controversy surrounding him, except to say he had to remain strong despite any attacks that may come. He received great applause  and a standing ovation.

And then one by one, other people spoke. Our state representative Robert Ross gave a talk. Another candidate for State Auditor, Saundra McDowell, said she was the right person for the job because she was better than the Democratic incumbent, Nicole Galloway, in every way: by her auditing experience working in the Attorney General's Office,  by her military service as a medic,  and by the fact that she had five children, while her  Democratic opponent only had three. Whatever her opponent did, McDowell could do better, including producing children faster -- two sets of twins in three pregnancies. She said that since the incumbent was a woman, it would be good to run another woman against her who could best her at everything. I was trying to wrap my mind around this argument.

"What time is it, Aya?" Austin, sitting beside me asked. I flicked on my cell phone so he could see. It was around 6:30. The event was supposed to be over at seven,

One by one, various candidates, some of them quite local, were asked to speak, but not Austin Petersen. And then there was going to be some entertainment.

"Let's go!" Austin said, and he and  Matt bounded off toward the exit. They went out into the parking lot. I followed them at a run.

"Austin! Aren't you going to speak?'

"Not this time," he said. "But it doesn't matter. We've accomplished the greater goal."

I was disappointed and upset, but I asked if I could take a picture with him by the bus. Even though he was obviously in a rush to get to Wright County, he graciously took the time to pose with me.

I watched the freedom bus pull away, and I wondered whether I should just go home, but I decided to stick it out. I went back inside, and there was a ballet in progress. And then there was some singing. And after that the political speeches resumed. They even called Austin up to speak, mispronouncing his name, and when I told them he had left, the announcer said: "Austin has left the building."

If they had only been willing to schedule Austin's speech before the ballet, he could have addressed the Republican Party of Texas County. But somebody thought the ballet should come first -- somebody high up in the local party.

Marie Lasater with Governor Eric Greitens
Watching Eric Greitens from a distance, it seemed to me that he looks a lot like John Steakley, back when I was crashing parties at science fiction conventions. But that was  in a different millenium.

Greitens posing for photos
As the event wound down, I saw my friend Doug Allen Ashby, with his father, leaving the hall. We both agreed it was a real shame that Austin Petersen had not been afforded the opportunity to speak before he had to leave for the next county.

I picked up my mail, bought groceries, and all the way home, I sang Filk of Felix. 


If you would like to learn more about Austin Petersen and contribute to his campaign, check out this link:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Throwback Thursday

Once upon a time, decades and decades ago, I was a law student living in Waco, Texas.

A picture from the yearbook.
I was a good student, but I had poor social skills, and I often was innocent about what was going on all around me. For instance, I had no idea that there was a religious community just outside town that would someday be the victim of a Federally orchestrated massacre.

I was interested in constitutional law and the provision in the Texas Constitution against taking from one and granting another.

Eventually, I would write a novel partly inspired by the vibes I got in Waco, Texas, without knowing how real the story I was inventing would turn out to be.

Today is the 25th anniversary of the massacre. Flags are at half mast in all Federal buildings. But it is not to mourn the fallen at Mt. Carmel. It's just a coincidence. It means nothing.

Some of the flyers I disseminated while in grad school at Rice

Monday, April 9, 2018

My Recent Experience with Facebook Suppression of Article Sharing

I recently had an odd experience on Facebook, which I would not call censorship exactly, but it felt more like an attempt to suppress sharing of an article by means of intimidation. I have never had an experience quite like it on Facebook before, and so I would term it atypical.

It all started when one of my friends had this article shared in a group, concerning a new discovery about aluminum in the brains of autistics and how this might implicate vaccines in the etiology of ASD.

Because, I found that the article contained a very interesting, reasoned approach to the issue and links to primary sources published by reputable scientific presses, I decided to share it on my Facebook page. Very soon after doing so, I got this message from "the Facebook Help Team".

I had never received a notice like this, and the implication that if they "determined" that an article I shared was false, they might notify me and expect me to take it down was disturbing. Unless the article is defamatory, there is no reason I should not be able to share it. Some articles are satire, some are mistaken, but unless they maliciously target the reputation of another person, we are allowed by law to publish them. Yes, Facebook is a private site and yes, it can make its own rules, but I don't remember anything in the terms of service when I joined about their being the final arbiter on "truth" on any given subject or that "truth" was even a term that applied to anything we post on our own page to share with friends.

However, I forgot about this when one of my friends remarked something about the article being "junk science.:" This person is an academician living abroad, and I know him to usually be very impressed by the prestige of academic publications. So while the article I posted was a mere blog post by J.B. Handley, it relied on serious scientific publication to make its point. One of them was from Elsevier, so I shared that link in the comments.

But when I tried to post this link to the article "Aluminium in Brain Tissue in Autism" in Journal of Trace Metals in Medicine and Biology by Matthew Mold, Andrew King and Christopher Exley, it would not post. Instead, I got a message that said this had been determined to be a bad page and that I might lose the right to publish on Facebook if I persisted. This shook me so much, that I neglected to get a screenshot of that message. Instead, I sent the link to my friend who had objected to the blog post as junk science in Facebook messenger. But before I was allowed to send him the link in Facebook messenger, I got this message::

I persisted and sent the link to my friend in Messenger, noting that Elsevier does not usually publish "junk science". I also told my friend the trouble I was having posting this. He said he could see my post in the comments all along. But I couldn't until much later. My friend also replied that the article published by Elsevier was not junk science, but that the conclusion J.B. Handley was drawing from the article was.

In other words, he was suggesting that the Handley blog post was misrepresenting the conclusion of the article by Professor Chris Exley and his colleagues. But here is the conclusion of the scientific article verbatim:

We have made the first measurements of aluminium in brain tissue in ASD and we have shown that the brain aluminium content is extraordinarily high. We have identified aluminium in brain tissue as both extracellular and intracellular with the latter involving both neurones and non-neuronal cells. The presence of aluminium in inflammatory cells in the meningesvasculaturegrey and white matter is a standout observation and could implicate aluminium in the aetiology of ASD.
I don't see how Handley's blog post, which also cites many other scientific sources, can be said to have misrepresented that.  That's exactly what he said in American English, only he spelled "aetiology" as "etiology" and "aluminium" as "aluminum", to make it easier for ordinary Americans to understand.  But beyond the issue of whether Handley's blog was misleading or whether the findings in the articles cited are mistaken, there is for me a much bigger and more important question: What is motivating Facebook to stop me from sharing this?
Professor Chris Exley, one of the authors

Friday, March 9, 2018

Reducing Infant Mortality Leads to Increase in Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Would you believe that by reducing infant mortality we are increasing neurodevelopmental disorders?  I think we have all noticed that the two are correlated, but if the one causes the other, what would be the mechanism?

It could be the lack of genetic culling, but would you imagine that in a single generation that would lead to an epidemic of epic proportions? If not due to lack of culling, then wouldn't you suspect that the same environmental force that is saving babies from death is dooming them to disability?


Julia Hanna and I are doing livestreams every Friday night at around 8:00pm Central Standard Time on both our channels. For notifications, please make sure that you are subscribed to my channel. Click on the link below, and if you are not yet subscribed, it will give you a chance to do so.