Active Repression of Journalism by U.S. Federal Officials

U.S. authorities under the last three presidents have wanted to extradite freelance reporter Julian Assange, currently held without cause in a British prison, to face U.S. prison for practicing journalism. The domestic-spying deep state hacked into the computer of longtime reporter Sharyl Attkisson during the Obama administration. More recently, using warrants signed by puppet judges, Federal thugs raided the homes of several Project Veritas investigative reporters, including its founder, James O’Keefe, over a supposedly “stolen” diary belonging to Joe Biden’s daughter that Veritas gave back without disclosure.

The common pretext between O’Keefe and Assange? The suits and ties in DC unilaterally have decided those being targeted with these tyrannical tactics are not journalists.

What? That’s not the government’s call to make. Journalism is not supposed to be subject to Federal gatekeeping in a supposedly free society. The Constitution not only provides no Federal authority over news reporting of any sort, by any means, but expressly forbids its interference therein!

When a government nominally bound by Constitutional law of press freedom simply can declare the people it is persecuting “aren’t journalists”, and get away with that, they can come after anyone for reporting anything. Then there is no freedom of the press; the Constitution is no longer an ideal, but just another meaningless piece of paper that some long-dead dudes scribbled stuff on, hundreds of years ago. Moreover, “journalism” becomes a governmentally prescribed caste system of dictated exclusivity, rendering all approved “journalists” as de facto stenographers for the regime.

SkyPix Photography Is in NFT Space

I’m now in the world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs)! I have been investing in cryptocurrencies for several years now and understand blockchain technology, so as an art creator using photography, NFTs were a logical leap to make.

Two 15-image OpenSea galleries are fully ready as a start, with plans for more over time from my 35+ year portfolio:

  1. Phenomenal Sky: a collection of storms, sunsets and other sky phenomena, and
  2. Lands and Waters: photography of our outdoor world, subjects large and small

My whole OpenSea SkyPix page is here.

If you deal in NFTs, are interested in doing so, or just curious, check it out, and spread the word! As with physical photo galleries, you don’t have to buy to just look and enjoy.

So for the unfamiliar: What is an NFT? Here’s a simple primer from an IP attorney. For more, read on…

Think of a unique original painting or photo print in a physical art gallery, signed by the artist with a certificate of authenticity. Creating an NFT does this digitally, by means of a “smart contract”, which is a preset program that executes the terms of a digital contract. In this case, it wraps an invisible and unique electronic stamp into the digital image, which can be traced right back to the originator, in theory, forever.

Each NFT is a unique asset, especially if the artist makes only one copy as an NFT, as most do, and as I will. Anyone who buys an NFT of mine will have the only smart-contract certified copy, period — because on the blockchain, it carries a digital signature unique to my work.

Like physical photo prints or paintings, NFTs can be bought, sold and traded by anyone with access to the blockchain (a kind of online commerce network) where it resides. The buyer holds the unique, electronically signed file; the creator retains copyright to the original work. NFTs are “minted” by the creator (or designee) using a service such as OpenSea, Rarible or Mintable. Doing so applies the uniquely identifying digital data to the file, sets the token upon the blockchain for display and trading, and takes a small cut of each sale made using its site.

Proceeds from the first sale of an NFT go mostly to the artist and partly to the display medium. After that, the creator gets a small royalty from each sale of the same asset, as long as the blockchain exists and the creator had set a royalty percentage to receive. In that respect, it’s better for artists than the secondary physical art market, from which the artist gets nothing after the initial sale.

If you buy my tornado print from Jane Doe, I get nothing. Buy it online from Ejane Digidoe, I get a small percentage, no matter how many times it has been bought and sold before. The largest and most stable blockchain for NFTs is Ethereum, which is strongly established and uses the ETH “ether” coin as a payment mechanism. At any time, the artist can cash some ether out of his/her digital ETH wallet to fiat currency such as dollars, euros, yen, or pesos. But to buy and sell NFTs on a blockchain, you have to have a digital wallet containing some of its money, in this case ETH.

An NFT can be a photo, scanned physical painting, digital art of any kind, music, other sound file, animation, or video clip. I create photography, so my NFTs are digital photos. I provide them at a resolution high enough that any buyer can make physical prints for framing and hanging, if they so choose. Other artists send physical prints to buyers of their photo NFTs who want to identify themselves. NFTs can be bought and sold anonymously or by real name. My OpenSea account is under SkyPix, named after my main photographic website that has existed in some form for over a quarter century.

To trade in NFTs (or cryptocurrencies like ETH, bitcoin, XRP, etc.) you need a digital wallet with a reputable and secure online cryptocurrency “bank” app, such as Coinbase, Gatehub, Metamask, and a few others. Setting it all up can be a pain in the butt because these outlets have their own learning curves, often aren’t intuitive to navigate for investors and traders, and have multiple layers of security to wade through (which is good, as they involve e-money!). That usually means proof of identity, a way to wire fiat funds in for conversion to crypto, lengthy “addresses” that are nonsensical strings of characters unique to your “wallet” and that you store in a secure place, and two-factor (or more!) login credentials.

Creating an NFT and putting it on the market is more than just uploading a file and description to a site. It’s a process, a sort of rhythmic dance between the provider (like OpenSea) and the wallet app (like Coinbase) that involves a series of logins and a QR code scan or two as you have a three-way interaction with them. Each needs to make sure the other and you are authentic, each and every time. After doing several, one gets used to the rhythm and knows what step is next. But it’s still a little time-consuming, and you do have to put in time and effort to create NFTs.

Like Mark Cuban, I believe NFTs are the future of art trading, and we today are in on the very early, basic stages of it. I’ve invested ridiculously little for the potential gain involved — nothing I can’t afford to lose (a time-honored, cardinal rule in any venture). If none of them ever sell, I’ll be disappointed, but out only about the cost of a very nice dinner for two.

I must offer great gratitude to fellow photographer DopplerJess (whose work is amazing, if you haven’t seen it) for her encouragement and inspiration.

Ethics in Science: Fauci Must Go

As a scientist who publishes peer-reviewed research, I strongly support and favor scientific work, the scientific method with reproducibility and falsifiability, and science as problem-solver for human civilization. However, I’m not one of those who raises science to the level of a false god, to be served at all costs, morals and ethics be damned. I also cringe and anger when government gets unethical with science in any way, because that unfairly smears me by association.

Science should help to solve our problems, not cause them, nor make them worse! This is why I oppose such “scientific” endeavors as human experiments that are involuntary, unknowing, misrepresented, or deliberately physically or psychologically damaging (say, Tuskegee syphilis experiments by the United States Public Health Service, Wendell Johnson stuttering-orphan “experiments”, anything involving eugenics, “Little Albert” infant-fear test, 1955 CIA whooping-cough release near Tampa, human radioactivity experiments at the Universities of Rochester and Cincinnati, CIA’s MKULTRA subproject 68, 1950s/60s covered-up toxic, radioactive chemical releases in St. Louis, and many more).

[Have you ever noticed how many of these inhumane “experiments” have been performed or funded by government? Do you still wonder why so many people don’t trust government science? I have to deal with that blowback even in weather science, where harmful ethical problems have been extremely rare.]

Animal testing is a gray area for me, context-dependent, case-by-case. I’m not some PETA extremist who worships worms, roaches and rats. I gladly eat meat and lots of it. I don’t have a problem with most animal experimentation involving mice, insects, fish, etc. However, some are clearly and obviously cruel to anyone with even the most minuscule conscience. Pretty much anything that causes harm to animals that are common human pets definitely crosses my line.

Enter Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health. Some background…

On Fauci’s watch: Chinese gain-of-function experiments on viral bat coronaviruses were backdoor-funded via third party with taxpayer money, after it was banned in the U.S. (for good reason). This provided plausible deniability on direct funding of any sort of corona gain-of-function work in Wuhan, a semantics game Fauci cunningly and misleadingly played in testimony. Four days ago, in a latter to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, DHS admitted to very limited coronavirus GoF money laundering through a third party (EcoHealth Allaince Inc) to Wuhan Institute. Your tax money, folks! I’m highly skeptical this was limited to viruses unrelated to the one now causing so much human devastation, and am confident more will trickle out over many years, until all this smoke reveals the ultimate fire.

This full stream of Glenn Greenwald’s tweets summarizes this NIH/EcoHealth/gain-of-function insanity succinctly. Greenwald is hardly a Q-anon right winger. In fact he quotes a story from Vanity Fair, of all things, that damns Fauci badly. [Vanity Fair? Also hardly a right-wing rag — in fact, quite the opposite! Yes, it’s fair to ask why that outfit investigated this, instead of supposed journalistic titans turned woke-cult mouthpieces like NY Times or Washington Post.] I agree with Greenwald that Rand Paul is owed an apology he’ll never receive, from Fauci and NIH.

Greenwald ignores Red Commie China too much in his statements — they obviously know everything about everything happening in that country through their deep, pervasive, Orwellian surveillance state — most certainly at the Wuhan lab, and all of EcoHealth’s involvement. They knew all too well about how the pandemic began (and aren’t telling nor permitting full outside investigation) — then incompetently responded to the disease emergence, leading to its worldwide spread. Not to mention cooking their own books with low fatalities and case numbers. The CCP is very much culpable here *also*, even as Greenwald hyperfocuses on encouragement and financial support via the U.S. bureaucracy, NIH. So, back to NIH and Fauci…

Bottom line: Fauci either didn’t know about the EcoHealth GoF work, and should have (malfeasance, incompetent leadership), or did know (per the 2018 grant report Greenwald notes) and is lying. Either way, he needs to go. But wait, there’s more!

Do you like beagle puppies? Stop now if you wish not to know of recent “experiments” on them that you and I unknowingly funded, that if any of us did in our own homes, rightfully would land us in jail and labeled as psychopaths. I hate stories like this, and almost never share them. However, this is a rare exception, because you are paying for this every week out of your salary, and should at least have the option to know about it. NIH funded the needless medical torture of beagle puppies.

From another bipartisan House report: “NIAID spent $1.68 million in taxpayer funds on drug tests involving 44 beagle puppies. The dogs were all between six and eight months old. The commissioned tests involved injecting and force-feeding the puppies an experimental drug for several weeks, before killing and dissecting them. Of particular concern is the fact that the invoice to NIAID included a line item for ‘cordectomy.’ As you are likely aware, a cordectomy, also known as ‘devocalization,’ involves slitting a dog’s vocal cords in order to prevent them from barking, howling, or crying. This cruel procedure — which is opposed with rare exceptions by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and others – seems to have been performed so that experimenters would not have to listen to the pained cries of the beagle puppies. This is a reprehensible misuse of taxpayer funds.”

NIAID is a unit of the NIH, directed by Fauci. This cruelty in the name of science was done on his watch. He is responsible.

I find it ironic, and somewhat pathetic, that Fauci is likely to face far more heat for this than for other ways he has misled (covered up) and/or outright lied. If truly “the buck stops here”, his removal from NIH is long past due.

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