ALEC Operation on Blast & knives out for solar as fossil fuel lobby gets what it paid for: MN House plan to gut clean energy policy, unload more fracked natural gas

//// Update 4 1AM: see Radically retro energy omnibus bill prompts MN citizens to step up for clean energy policy for more on the groups that have started moving on this last day or so. The Sierra Club Northstar post from Monday has details on several key bad parts of the energy omnibus bill. Alliance for Solar Choice has this action page for testimony starting Wednesday. ///

Quick post to roust people on another impending political disaster in Minnesota. Nationwide the American Legislative Exchange Council politicians (ALEC - a corporate establishment coordinating body, essentially) are trying to kill decentralized rooftop solar panel systems and the policy apparatus that lets them trade extra electrons into the grid for cash.

National: see their scheme directly: Updating Net Metering Policies Resolution - ALEC - American Legislative Exchange Council

ALEC, climate change: A fight over rooftop solar panels could decide America’s energy future. (Sept 2014)

Utility Trade Group Funds ALEC Attack on Americans Using Solar | PR Watch (July 2014)

Now this plan is in Full Effect in Minnesota and at least on social media, almost everyone has been asleep at the switch (although this is changing).

In Minnesota the new energy omnibus bill here (PDF) which was composed by GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo, one of ALEC's point men, is trying to thrash the entire renewable energy standards system which sets clear targets for carbon reduction and deters utilities from buying environmentally dirty power from the region. It also obliterates the current program to promote "made in Minnesota" local solar companies. (energy committee homepage)

I just heard from a friend that "Fresh Energy, MN350 are all testifying….. The hearings on the bill are extended now Wednesday evening, Thursday AM, Friday from noon until midnight. That sounds to me like lots of folks are registering to testify." Hit up the committee administrator at the link above if you want to testify this week too.

For the full rundown see Bluestem Prairie: Rep. Wagenius charges that MN House energy omnibus bill sabotages solar and much more

DFL Rep. Jean Wagenius, a truly long term dedicated environmentalist, made this post. The worst energy bill ever sabotages solar. And that’s not all:

Rep. Pat Garofalo has introduced his draft Omnibus Energy Bill. d0b80283-da3f-4839-baf9-551613c2b6d9.pdf   Since he is Chair of the House Jobs Creation and Energy Affordability Committee, his bill is the Republican bill.

The Garofalo bill incorporates the energy-related ideas and bills that had been heard in his committee. Rep. Garofalo then found more bad ideas to include. This post would be much too long if it did more than scratch the surface. So it just covers the worst of the worst. Two of the worst of the worst were presented earlier in committee so there are earlier and more detailed posts about them. The earlier posts are noted below.

In summary, Rep. Garofalo’s bill would dismantle most of Minnesota’s efforts to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by repealing the laws that support these efforts. He totally sabotages solar.

In 62 pages he does a lot more, like proposing to make gifts to coal, the Koch brothers, and people wealthy enough to buy electric cars.

Before the worst of the worst, the back story needs to be told. The fight brewing in Minnesota is just one of many happening across the U.S. In anarticle entitled “Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar,” The Washington Post reported on the campaign by utitlites and its fossil-fuel supporters to stop residential solar. The Post says that legislation to make net metering illegal or more expensive has been introduced in legislatures in nearly two dozen states. The Los Angeles Times article, “Koch brothers, big utilities attack solar, green energy policies” links the effort against net metering to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch brothers.

… meanwhile virtually nothing has been published by 'energy watchdogs' about it. (note her post is about the 3/27 draft, while the newest is the 4/6 draft but the same in most important respects.)

I had an exchange with Garofalo on Twitter. Clearly you can see the political economy in effect. As previously noted by hongpong.com (thanks to great tips from friends), the fossil fuel lobby bought its way into controlling the MN House through independent expenditures paid for by Northern Oil & Gas of Wayzata, which is currently trying to unload as much dirty fossil fuel as they can.

Here, can you see Garofalo's political economy? Smells like fracksauce to me...

energy-omni1.png

energy-omni2.png

energy-omni3.png

Unfortunately various energy watchdogs such as www.midwestenergynews.com are 100% asleep at the switch [on this issue in a very bad session] so it's up to you to try and intervene. Get crackin or you'll be fracked!!

Update 1: The section about appropriations for low income energy assistance, as I understand it is something that is usually included in energy omnibus bills in years past, it is not a novel addition really. The fossil fuels and striking of all renewable language, giveaways to nuclear, dumping carbon/emission reduction targets etc are all major policy shifts that need our full attention.

Update 2 - 5:40pm: I was sent over this bulletin that went out an hour ago from MNIPL. It is encouraging to see more groups are nudging the issue but they need to get it accelerated in public as soon as possible, not just action alerts that are hard to discover:

From: Claire Curran - claire@mnipl.org
Date: Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 3:44 PM
Subject: Tell Your Representatives to Do the Right Thing!

Dear Friends,

Key people within the Minnesota House of Representatives are working to gut Minnesota’s successful landmark clean energy policies, but people of faith are stepping up and calling on them to do the right thing.

Over the past twenty years, Minnesotans have built a responsible transition beyond fossil fuels to a clean, renewable energy, and a thriving industry that employs >15,300 people. Faith actors have been at the forefront of these successful steps forward.

But the Minnesota House bill would:

Eliminate Minnesota’s science-based goals aimed to reduce and offset climate pollution;
Repeal Minnesota’s energy savings program that has saved the energy equivalent of 8 Prairie Island nuclear plants;
Repeal the nuclear moratorium;
Destroy the progress made on solar energy in 2013
Roll back Minnesota’s renewable goals by watering down standard renewable energy by allowing existing, large hydro from Canada.

Tell your State Senator and Representative to vote NO on the House energy bill and instead supporting clean energy & jobs policies by supporting the Senate clean energy package.

The right thing to do is to continue to make progress by supporting the Senate clean energy package that sets Minnesota’s renewable energy benchmark to achieve at least 40% renewables by 2030 and increases energy savings.

Thanks for all you do to build the climate movement!

Together,

Claire Curran
Campaign Coordinator, MNIPL

Their action alert URL on the email is http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=Auxa8Gzj01ypA1nY1qyd5QdF... .. keep rollin on!!

Update 3: 7pm: North Star Sierra Club put this up yesterday covering the bill in detail. There is apparently a phone bank going right now tonight somewhere on this issue... Good work, keep it up!

Rewilding and live performances in abandoned places: Wastelands Project from Children of the Wild

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Just wanted to give a nod to my friends working on developing a new traveling performance art piece, the childrenofthewild Wastelands Project. They're on Facebook at Children of the Wild.

Here is some of the copy on the THE WASTELANDS PROJECT | Indiegogo page. The timer runs out in a couple days so please check it out.

The Wastelands Project from Children of the Wild on Vimeo.

A traveling ensemble of artists seeks to rewild the Great Lakes through free outdoor performances.

THE WASTELANDS PROJECT ABANDON ALL DESPAIR, YE WHO ENTER HERE.

The Silent Revolution

Western Civilization is self-destructing all around us, and it’s never looked so under control. Wolf hunts, receding glaciers, the dream of a gardened planet: the ecological crisis spreads across the plains like an endless chain of luxury high rises. We believe there is a light to be found in the dark rows ahead. But to see it, we first need to stretch our imagination.

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That's where we enter the Wastelands, an outdoor, traveling live performance about the future of life on Earth.

The Wastelands The Wastelands is a revolutionary art project, loosely based on Dante's Purgatorio, that transcends medium--theatre, music, film, dance, fine art, adventurous travel--from us, an emerging ensemble called Children of the Wild.

From April 20th-May 18th, 2015 we will travel across the Great Lakes in search of people to engage with and locations to bring The Wastelands. Ultimately we aim to uncover the real-life stories of environmental crimes suffered by the Great Lakes Basin. More importantly we seek out the resistance of communities that won't back down until the Lakes are free. Why the Great Lakes? We are living in a watershed moment, so it helps to look at our watershed.

WHO ARE WE? Children of the Wild, an ensemble of North American artists, currently in residence at Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA.

Our mission is to make original works of theatre and film that further the rewilding of the human spirit as part of a common struggle for social and environmental justice.
Rewilding Theatre Over the next two years, we are building our show out of and performing in the detritus of this world—ruins of factories, overgrown lots, junk piles that were once industrial parks. We envision being costumed by dust and dirt, ash and burlap; we imagine a set made from found objects; we will travel in an adventurous way (bus or boat) and live as a tribe, in order to open space for what is possible politically and culturally. The film will faithfully document our tour, exposing the in-between places where fiction meets reality. But why go through all that trouble just to tell a story? We believe in order talk about rewilding our souls as well as our environments, we must live it. So the question is, Where do we look to find a landbase reinventing itself in order to survive an almost certain death?

I pitched in with some website work for UGB & Twilight back in the day and I am glad the new project is getting executed. I saw some of the early notes and I think it's really promising.

Military & Film, movies at cosmic war in our mind's eye: Why does the Pentagon care about 'exopolitics' & Hollywood portrayals of aliens? Blockbusters, extraterrestrials and ultraterrestrials

image.adapt.960.high.pentagon_hollywood_wings.jpg

Wings, in 1927, won the first Oscar for Best Picture and used more than 3,000 infantrymen, pilots and crew.
So begins our meta narrative...

I had a bit of a debate with a friend of mine about influences going into science fiction in the media, and the intersection between the Pentagon and Hollywood. The US military has had a presence for nearly a century in American filmmaking but insight into its outsized influence has gotten quite lost.

Even more oddly, the government has always been keen to get involved in any films about extraterrestrials -- including the CIA. The Pentagon has certainly firmed its grasp around alien-related movies in recent years.

This post jets in a few far out-directions. Rather than split it into more narrowly focused narratives, I wanted to linkdump a breadth of material so I can send it out there when these topics come up, as they all seem rather enmeshed anyhow.

If nothing else, Michael Bay should become Secretary of Defense. He has gained hugely from this system, and could shoot cheap fake wars to entertain Fox viewers while sparing the rest of us the expense of patrolling the world and the cosmos. Synthetic Wag the Dog type video should be the whole system, not just a prop for strategy.

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SciFi military influence works in relation to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), which signaled a threatening concept for Pentagon leadership: the film's conception of military thinking as too limited for managing our social reality in the universe -- an alien turns up to critique nuclear weapons and earthbound militarism. (And weird UFO incidents continued at nuclear sites in decades following!)

The bland remake had Pentagon help, and didn't do well with critics or the box office. Journalist Linda Moulton Howe said that government sources told her 1951 the film was "inspired by the CIA" and "one of the first major government tests of public reaction to such an event."

Day_the_Earth_Stood_Still_1951.jpg

Fast forward sixty years later: fare like Stargate SG-1, Man of Steel and Transformers are marketed to appeal mainly to young male demographics and the military as a whole is usually presented as a cosmologically viable, if weak, buffer force against a fairly nihilistic universe, and if misguided still gets brought around.

Bad eggs, rather than systematic failures of the military as an institution, usually form the narrative boundary.

man-of-steel-superman-henry-cavill-3.jpg

On the other end of the cosmic spectrum, Sony's Captain Phillips and the little-remembered Jurassic Park III were other projects where the military cleans everything up at the end. Despite different plot trappings, the subsidized state Pentagon presence is quite similar in all of these.

Phillips "used a U.S. military guided missile destroyer, an amphibious assault ship, several helicopters, and members of SEAL Team Six, who play themselves but are not on active duty — all courtesy of the U.S. Navy, who were able to work the shoot into their training…. For "Man of Steel," using military efforts cost less than $1 million on a movie with a production budget of $225 million. Another perk of having Strub sign off on a Hollywood project is it often means production is able to avoid Screen Actors Guild (SAG) daily minimum rates ($153 for eight hours, plus overtime) for unionized actors. Then they save again by not having to pay residuals, notes Fortune."

All of these were produced with a great deal of Pentagon assistance and this is always done in exchange for certain specific, defined features, usually script points in the storyline. Characters get reconfigured and sometimes dropped so that a producer can get access to a free carrier to film on or whatever. Minders on-set ensure the final product is right to spec.

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Enter the Alien Stage Left: In all of this comes a defined emphasis on spacefaring aliens -- they got an extraterrestrial type firmly defined in the popular mind by the 1950s through media productions. Looking at so much of this sponsored work, there is almost a toolkit that has been diligently set in stone about what all the weirdness really means, and how it works.

Part of what writer Chris Knowles at Secret Sun blog has gunned away at for years is not just the complex of recycled ideas and flows of script control. It's a long exploration along the interfaces of popular culture and sophisticated groups planting, in retrospect, quite traceable ideas. For example, old Outer Limits, Star Trek, the Esalen Institute and Rockefellers form one compellingly weird Gordian knot.

Stargates and Solar temples is a real cosmic trip as well, linking a California-centered trend of contacting invisible alien spirits called the Nine with the Prophets (alien wormhole dwellers worshipped by Bajorans) in Deep Space Nine. Spoiler alert: Pleasure planet Risa also has numerous cues connecting it to Esalen as well. All this stuff is wild.

Knowles also stresses that powerful ideas like hidden folk ('elves', spirits, elementals), walk-ins (like possession & speaking in tongues), or other ultraterrestrials have been with humanity apparently since the beginning but are totally obfuscated by factors like the Pentagon's reorganization of the Other through the media (if I can summarize a very long and branching line of inquiry). They call our attention to Grays to draw it away from the Wee Folk.

It seems like the Pentagon likes to push away the idea that some connection would be made to somewhat unreal or alternate dimension intelligences, who might bear some positive wisdom if only we were more open to it. [Knowles attributes some of this hostility to a shadowy Collins Elite, hardliners kind of like cosmic Birchers, opponents of the Rockefeller Disclosure squad like Dr Steve Greer. He sees echoes of the Collins Elite in the 10:13 produced X-Files spinoff Millennium. ]

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Another common theme is that the military is not a systematically wrong approach to the cosmic universe. Star Trek and Stargate SG-1 are the strongest examples, which always resonated better with Americans than elsewhere. The complete notion or the ontology of a military agency facing outwards into the void as the political surface membrane of human bacterial cell in the galactic body, through the US Air Force Space Command, is beyond doubt.

Even when members of the military make bad decisions like in WarGames or SG-1 episodes, it gets reconciled and the structure is redeemed. In these boundaries there are not Strangelove-like transgressions. Even after apotheosis and enlightenment, still the military structure stands. It just needs course corrections, it never goes down like the Titanic. [Plenty of script tweak examples listed below]

Independence Day was not produced with military help (they certainly didn't want Area 51 in the mix, apparently) but everything still lands in a martial framework.

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Mission accomplished

(source http://poisonparadise.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/tumblr_lnul0brwkZ1qa9vqgo1_500.gif)

The notion of utopian existence without state militaries withers away, reversing the Earth Stood Still, getting it all spinning once again.

independence-day-area-51.jpg

(source http://fakeclenews.com/images/independence-day-area-51.jpg )

Much as it seems easier to imagine the apocalypse nowadays than living outside of capitalism, so too it is harder to imagine exploring both the outer and inner universe outside of a martial foundation.

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British angle: I'm less familiar with overseas version of America's media-military complex, but it seems the British used James Bond films to put certain ideas out there, at least. The BBC looms large over Brit sci-fi. Torchwood, Britain's answer to Men in Black, seemed kind of like NCIS for space. I didn't see much of it but it seemed like a reframing of high weirdness phenomena into manageably concrete martial terms.

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While poking around this stuff I came across Gordon White's website Rune Soup including this fun passage in The Other Place of Dead Roads:

The trickster unifies major, but seemingly unrelated, themes surrounding the paranormal. For instance, the paranormal is frequently connected with deception, and deceit is second nature to the trickster. Psychic phenomena gain prominence in times of disruption and transition. Tricksters are found in conditions of transition. The paranormal has a peculiar relationship with religion; the trickster was part of many early religions, and he was viewed ambivalently. The statuses of paranormal phenomena are typically uncertain or marginal in a variety of ways. Tricksters’ statuses are similar. [The Trickster and the Paranormal.]

Also interesting: Under Familiar Skies. To this intersection of shamanism and management of Otherworldly perceptions check out: Risk a Little More Bite if your interests lie anywhere between Terrence McKenna and John Podesta's improbable recent tweet about UFO files.

podesta_tweet.jpg

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Narrative and the New Nihilism: Along with all of this is a "new nihilism" linked to what Knowles derisively calls Nü Atheism (aka the adolescent-minded Dawkins/ Maher/Harris scene). This piece touches on it: "They kept saying they believe in nothing" | Red Dirt Report. Nihilism is a perfect worldview to match the perspective that nothing tangible positive is reachable in the interior of the psyche or the cosmos. (See also The Secret Sun: Pop (Culture) Has Eaten Itself)

There is certainly some gender dynamic in scifi that saw Star Trek: Voyager as the high water mark for non-alpha male storytelling ( Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all). Now everything seems to have drifted back towards typical gender roles, as the story notes. Even the idea of a black James Bond is controversial - Roger Moore facepalm...

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Circling back to the general issue of the Pentagon in non-scifi moviemaking: This is hardly a small affair or just a few producers and G-Men scooting some cameras onto the odd aircraft carrier deck. It's a major system and important to the whole way that America perceives itself in the world - and indeed the universe.

Here are some links to hit, plenty more where that came from:

25 years later, how ‘Top Gun’ made America love war - David Sirota - WaPo OpEd August 2011: "In June, the Army negotiated a first-of-its-kind sponsorship deal with the producers of “X-Men: First Class,” backing it up with ads telling potential recruits that they could live out superhero fantasies on real-life battlefields. … [In Top Gun] Time magazine reported that Goose’s death was changed from a midair collision to an ejection scene, because “the Navy complained that too many pilots were crashing."

The Pentagon’s Man in Hollywood: I’m a Eunuch | The New Republic - Dec 2012

CIA and Pentagon have long-running influence over Hollywood’s representation of military - RawStory Jan 2013

'Act Of Valor' And The Military's Long Hollywood Mission - HuffPo Feb 2012

Hollywood and The Pentagon: A Dangerous Liaison - Top Documentary Films (37 mins, free) [also here]

Hollywood and the Pentagon: A relationship of mutual exploitation | Al Jazeera America - July 2014

On the CBS hit show “NCIS” (Naval Criminal Investigative Service): “If you watch the episodes, it’s always a dead Marine or a dead sailor and reverse autopsy to see if they were the victim or the perpetrator,” Coons said. “In many cases you’ll see we hold ourselves accountable when the investigation reveals we’ve done something wrong, and we take that person through the proper steps to punish them or make them whole if they were the victim, and it’s demonstrated for the public to see.”

I am baffled people find such bland step-throughs watchable but apparently they're as addictive as crack once you get into them.

Operation Hollywood | Mother Jones - Sept 2004: "They never -- at least that I’ve seen -- help movies with aliens. Usually in those movies, the military is shown to be ineffective in combating the aliens, and it’s always some tricky, enterprising person who figures out how to defeat them. " Notice this has since been reversed with Transformers and Man of Steel. "….when the world’s most powerful medium colludes with the world’s most powerful military to put propaganda in mainstream films and television shows, that has to have an effect on the American psyche."

The Pentagon and Hollywood - quick note from Stanford, date unknown.

Since 1989, this guy: Phil Strub Controls Hollywood's Military Access - Business Insider - March 2014. This guy is Director of the Marine Corps liason office now > Curtis Hill | LinkedIn

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Hollywood Is Becoming the Pentagon's Mouthpiece for Propaganda | Alternet - May 2008, looks at Iron Man

Propaganda and Censorship: The Hollywood Industrial Complex by Sean A. McElwee -- Antiwar.com - April 2013. Covers Iron Man 2. "In the original GoldenEye script a Navy Admiral sells state secrets, the final version, it’s now a Frenchman." Handy index:

090518_f_6680c_108_127.jpg2012 Battleship

2012 Act of Valor

2011 Transformers: Dark of the Moon

2011 Battle Los Angeles

2010 Iron Man 2

2009 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

2009 Bones (TV series)

– The Hero in the Hold (2009) (this episode could not have been made without the support and generosity of – Phil Strub)

2008 The Day the Earth Stood Still

2008 Eagle Eye

2008 Iron Man

2007 I Am Legend

2007 Transformers

2006 Flags of Our Fathers

2006 Al Franken: God Spoke

2006 United 93

2005 The Great Raid

2005 Stealth

2005 War of the Worlds

2003 American Valor

2003 Rain

2003 The Core

Pentagon rules target Hollywood leaks | TheHill - Sept 2014. Can't have anyone telling stories outside of school! [Look back on Secret Sun for clues about old Outer Limits possibly publishing leaked material wrapped in scifi]

US Marine Corps list of TV and Film requests for involvement

A Credit to the Corps - latimes - on Josh Rushing & Al Jazeera, August 2004. He got reassigned to the Marine Corps' Hollywood office after a spokester media tour early in the Iraq war.

MARINE PAYING PRICE FOR ROLE IN DOCUMENTARY CAPT. JOSH RUSHING HAS BEEN REASSIGNED AND HAS BEEN ORDERED NOT TO GIVE INTERVIEWS ABOUT HIS ROLE IN 'CONTROL ROOM,' A DOCUMENTARY BY AL JAZEERA. - News-Record.com: Home

Ex-Marine Josh Rushing on His Journey from Military Mouthpiece to Al Jazeera Correspondent | Democracy Now! - June 2007

Pentagon Liaisons to Hollywood Have Some Great Stories - Roll Call July 2014

When the CIA infiltrated Hollywood - Salon.com by Tom Hayden - Feb 2013, covers Argo and earlier projects.

USATODAY.com - Homeland Security guides the stars - March 2005 Homeland Security and once again Tom Hanks in The Terminal. Along with USATODAY.com - Hollywood, Pentagon share rich past

The Case for Hollywood History by Francine Prose | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books - Feb 2015

Pentagon weighs in on some Hollywood movie scripts - AP 1996 - Yes they hit Forrest Gump and demanded his co-soldiers appear smarter.

The Pentagon Goes Hollywood | | The Escapist Feb 2013. Wow even Birth of a Nation had artillery loaned from West Point.

War is a racket: The Pentagon-Hollywood Connection - Brass Check TV

Military interference in American film production - World Socialist Web Site - March 2005

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DivPA Los Angeles Public Affairs -

Mission

The Marine Corps Motion Picture & TV Liaison Office, also known as LA Public Affairs, provides assistance to directors, producers and writers in the entertainment industry by providing DoD support for major motion pictures, television shows, video games and documentaries to inform and educate the public about the roles and missions, history, operations, and training of the United States Marine Corps.

What we provide

Since 1917, we have helped producers, writers and directors of non-Government, entertainment and non-entertainment-based media productions with the following:

  • Coordination for the use of personnel, aircraft, and equipment.
  • Access to Marine Corps installations, both within the United States and forward combat zones.
  • Assistance in obtaining broadcast-quality Marine Corps stock footage and "B" roll footage.
  • Accurate Script and story development
  • Access to highly-qualified subject matter experts (i.e. pilots, engineers, infantrymen, etc)

Note: All productions must be approved by the Department of Defense and meet specific criteria for support. Click on our FAQs link for more information.

What production companies should do

You may contact these people to try and borrow an aircraft carrier for your drug filled pacifist film capers at:

U.S. Military Assistance in Producing Motion Pictures, Television Shows, Music Videos


Department of Defense

Special Assistant for Entertainment Media

Department of Defense

The Pentagon, Room 2E592

Washington, DC 20301-1400

(703) 695-2936 / FAX (703) 695-1149

For information regarding U.S. military assistance in producing feature motion pictures, television shows, documentaries, music videos, commercial advertisements, CD-ROM games, and other audiovisual programs, please contact the Military Service being portrayed or being asked to provide assistance:



Army

Chief, Office of Army Chief of Public Affairs

Los Angeles Branch

10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1250

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 235-7621 / FAX (310) 235-6075



Navy

Director, Navy Office of Information West

10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1220

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 235-7481 / FAX (310) 235-7856



Air Force

Director, Secretary of the Air Force

Office of Public Affairs

Office of Public Affairs-Entertainment Liaison

10880 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1240

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 235-7511 / FAX (310) 235-7500



Marine Corps

Director, Marine Corps Public Affairs

Motion Picture and Television Liaison

10880 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 1230

Los Angeles, CA 90024

(310) 235-7272 / FAX (310) 235-7274

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Anyway I hope that gives some avenues to go check out and a better understanding of where all these bland military-involved plot points come from - movie execs that acquiesce to rather unconstitutional pressure from the offices named above here, due to budget pressure.

The remapping of outer space by this system is almost as strange as a UFO sighting - it rather pre-conditions us to certain conclusions, or frames of reference. whenever a truly weird incident happens.

Let's try to support weird cinema in 2015, cinema that opens our imaginations. Not this dull mixture of the same old military character injected into young male blockbusters and all-too-conventional scifi over and over.

Credit to Roger Ebert for inspiring me to throw some notes out there - just watched "Life, Itself" and it was quite awesome.

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.

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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

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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.

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