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. . .takin’ the “BS” out’a the BlogoSphere (and MSM), one shovel-full at a time

Olympia Food Coop gets their dancin’ shoes on — SLAPP suit bounced

Bloged in Middle East, Israelis by Gutter Grunt Tuesday February 28, 2012 at about 4:42 pm

On Feb27.12 Judge McPhee of the Washington State Superior Court for Thurston County threw out the Israeli backed SLAPP suit against the board members of the Olympia Food Coop.

I reported on this disaster of a law suit last December [Israel Targets US Citizens — Part II] and predicted . . .

[I]f OFC folks win their SLAPP motion, they will be able to really get down and party with the $160,000 the DDT-5 will have to pay them.

My gut feeling is that they should get their dancing shoes out from under the bed.

This SLAPP suit has absolutely astounded me in it’s stupidity right from the beginning.

I previously referred to the plaintiffs, Kent Davis, Linda Davis, Susan Trinin, Jeffery Trinin, and Susan Mayer as the “DDT-5.” Their lawyer is Avi Lipman.
They have all made themselves public figures by filing the SLAPP suit against OFC, and I do not think we should let them hide behind “the plaintiffs,” as other bloggers have done.  They are backed by the Israel-first organization, Stand With Us (SWU), and, according to the Electronic Intifada, by the Israeli government.  All of this is laid out in my previous post.

What is so stupid about the suit technically is that some bagel-brain decided to sue the ENTIRE current board of the OFC, plus previous board members — 16 defendants in all.

The Washington state anti-SLAPP law says that each of these defendants “shall” now recover $10,000 as compensation from the plaintiffs.  When “shall” appears in a statute, it means the judge has no discretion. That looks like AT LEAST $160,000 to the defendants.  Hang on a sec’ — pull out calculator, tap, tap, tap, - - - that comes to a cost to each of the DDT-5 plaintiffs of $32,000. This does not include the amount they will have to pay for the defendants’ attorneys’ fees and legal costs, which are also required by the statute. Ouch, baby!  Maybe that’s why it’s called a SLAPP suit.

But the stupid part is that the suit would have been just as effective in closing down the OFC BSD initiative if the suit had named only one or two current board members and not exposed the plaintiffs to 16-fold penalty fees.

But, noooooo. These uber-Zionists wanted to inflict as much pain as possible on as many of the OFC folks as possible. That’s precisely what a SLAPP suit is all about: inflicting financial pain on the defendants. Of course, the DDT-5 and their attorneys didn’t know when they filed their maleficent SLAPP suit that Bruce Johnson, who drafted Washington’s anti-SLAPP law, and the Center for Constitutional Rights were going to step in and level the playing field.

Good on Washington State for passing this anti-SLAPP statute.

Good on Judge McPhee for applying it.

Good on OFC defense attorney Bruce E.H. Johnson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

And a great job by the Center for Constitutional Rights. I’m sending them a check tonight. These are my rights they’re fighting for.

Maybe the next time Israeli Consul General Akiva Tor and Israel consider taking on US citizens in a US court over the 1st Amendment, they will take a deep breath and re-think the whole thing before pulling the SLAPP trigger.

When Oprah beat back a SLAPP suit filed by a bunch of Texas cowboys who were trying to penalize her for saying she’d never eat another hamburger, she summed it up: “Free speech rocks.”

Evil Science, Part I: Ron Fouchier and Yoshihiro Kawaoka open the H5N1 Pandora’s Box and try to spill its contents.

Bloged in Viral threats by Gutter Grunt Monday February 13, 2012 at about 11:05 pm

Having spent a good part of my career in the neurosciences, I still consider myself a scientist, however washed-up or faded.   And as a scientist, I have often pondered the question: When does science become evil?  I guess the glib answer is:  Whenever it harms people or our planet.

The problem with the glib answer is that it is too short-sighted.  Pandora’s box, once pried open, stays open forever.  A scientific discovery may be predominately beneficial to mankind as of today, and so it would be judged not evil, but tomorrow the same discovery may unleash untold horrors.  That’s the thing about Pandora’s box – all the stuff that’s in there doesn’t necessarily come pouring out as soon as the box is opened.  It may take generations.

Take the Manhattan Project of four generations ago.  Many people would argue that the science that led to Little Boy and Fat Man could not be considered evil because those bombs brought an immediate end to the much greater evil of the Japanese attempts to conquer the world.  Evil is relative. If Evil A is less evil than Evil B, then Evil A is good. Isn’t it?

Maybe.  But to me the better answer to the question When is science evil? is that evil science is not just science that is proven to harm people, but any discovery that has a greater potential for harm than for good, or a potential for greater harm than good.  By this criterion, I do not hesitate to conclude that the Manhattan Project was evil science, and those who participated in it were evil scientists.  Even if the world destroys every last nuke tomorrow, the knowledge required to start over is still out there and can never put back in the box.  The potential for catastrophe is perpetual.

Already in 2012 we have two examples of new perpetual potentials for catastrophe – what I consider clear examples of evil science.  I look at one these in this post, and the other next time.

Late last year the first such evil discovery was announced by as evil a pair of scientists –  applying the above criterion – as one could hope to find: Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a virologist at U. Wisconsin (Madison) and U. Tokyo. What these virologists did was to take a deadly avian flu, H5N1, and make it even deadlier for humans – so deadly that some have estimated it could kill 50% of all humans, gauging from how lethal the “old” H5N1 is known to be.  Essentially, they took the wild-type H5N1 and mutated it so that it is easily transmitted from human to human, without going through a bird intermediary.

Here, in Founcier’s own words, is what they were trying to do . . . and did:

We were of course working to find out exactly which mutations cause the virus to become transmissible by aerosol. That is going to stop now; we were almost done with that, but not quite. We were working to find out which biological properties of the virus are associated with the mutations that we have found. The biological properties of the virus are really more important than the mutations themselves. . . .we said we thought there were a number of things that might make an avian influenza virus transmissible between mammals. At the time, that was purely hypothetical. We said the virus probably has to do better in the upper respiratory tract than deep inside the lungs; it must bind to certain mammalian receptors; it has to reproduce in large amounts, to increase chances of transmission; it has to be stable in small droplets, and so on. . . . [n]ow that we have these mutations, we can look at each of these steps to see if they occur. And you will see that for each step, there are multiple options, more possible mutations than just the ones we have found so far. So that’s very important.

Evil scientists always rationalize their science.  They have to unless they are privately funded or funded by evil governments.  True to form, Fouchier glibly rationalizes building a virus that has the potential to kill 50% of all humans.  Just formulating a rationalization for such a monster takes enormous chutzpah.  What is his rationale?  Well, . . . according to Fouchier, the up-side is that now that we have this monster, we can produce vaccines to it.  That’s like rationalizing the Manhattan Project on the grounds that it gave people an excuse to build bomb shelters.

What Fouchier is not saying is that it is not just his particular strain of H5N1 that is a threat.  There are potentially dozens of other similar strains, many of which would not react with any vaccine to Fouchier’s strain.

What Fouchier is trying to unleash on the world – if the US and other governments are not able to stop him – is not the virus itself but the knowledge of how to build similar monsters.  This Pandora’s box is now wide open, thanks to these two guys.  Even if miracously none of their information gets out, it is now clear that it is possible and “easy,” in Fouchier’s words, to produce H5N1 that transmits human to human.  Those who want such a beast now know they can make it.  The damage is not in the specific viruses he has produced, but in the information.  If these guys are so stupid that they can’t see that, they need to be taken out of all scientific endeavours.  Maybe locked up.

In closing, I am reminded, with great apprehension, of the “Baxter accident” of Feb, 2009, when vaccine manufacturer Baxter’s Austrian lab “accidentally” sent out vaccine samples to 18 countries containing live H5N1 viruses.  The mere thought of what could happen with Fouchier’s lethal strain in the hands of such idiots is too horrible to contemplate.

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