2019/12/19

Ticking Time Bomb

ticks

Astute pundits are rightly alerting us that the impeachment circus is a distraction to hide legislative shenanigans from the people.

But not even the most cynical among them could have guessed just how strange some of those shenanigans are.
The House quietly voted last week to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose.
The unusual proposal took the form of an amendment that was adopted by voice vote July 11 during House debate on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, which lawmakers passed the following day.
The amendment, by New Jersey Republican Christopher H. Smith, says the inspector general “shall conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975.”
The Pentagon weaponizing ticks to spread Lyme disease is a new one on me. But Congress thinks there's enough smoke hanging over the allegations to order a search for fire.
A book called “Bitten,” published this year, makes the case that the Defense Department research occurred and hints at a possible connection between the experiments and the spread of maladies such as Lyme disease, which is borne by ticks.
To Smith and other advocates of the Pentagon IG report, studying the past may provide data that can help stem the spread of Lyme disease in the future.
Lyme disease sucks. See author Alex Hellene's account of his battle with the ailment for the gory details.
Between 300,000 and 427,000 new cases of Lyme disease occur each year, with further growth expected in the years ahead, said Smith, a founding co-chairman of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus, which advocates for greater awareness of the disease and for more funding for research into a cure.
“We need answers and we need them now,” Smith said.
I put the question to my cherished readers: What do you think the odds are we'll ever get those answers?


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14 comments:

  1. We'll get them when at least one of the following criteria are filled:

    1) The answer is irrelevant to the public, who won't care.

    2) The answer will serve to distract from something else that's worse, like attempted propitiation of Moloch.

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  2. Agree with DJ, unfortunately. Unless there is a whistleblower or more pressing distraction, this one will probably stay stuck int he vault, much like the other DoD human trials in the first five decades of the 20th Century.

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    1. Yep. We know they gave black airmen syphilis and fed pregnant women plutonium, so why not this?

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  3. DJ is correct. It's also unfortunate that no one feels the need challenge the idea that the Pentagon would do such a thing. We know it's possible (probable even), we just aren't sure of the particulars.

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    1. When was the last time the Pentagon won a war they didn't start?

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  4. The Lyme push mystifies me. Medicine has been gaslighting Lyme disease sufferers for so long, I'm marveling at the level of legitimacy these charges are getting all of a sudden. Why aren't they sticking to the deny-all-knowledge approach? Something has changed.

    Now the congressman in question, Chris Smith, is an odd duck. Republican, he ran on a platform of conscientious objection to the god emperor, yet STILL defended his district against a democratic challenger with a massive war chest behind him. A longtime pro-lifer who was big on fighting human trafficking for decades. He was involved in a few high profile cases of children taken abroad during divorce against the wishes of the other parent. Seemed like one of the good ones! But Q had warnings about pols who got involved with children's charities. So interperet as you will. No New Jersey Republican is clean, that's for sure.

    My instinct with regards to all this is that something is about to come to light that will piss people off, something that can't be silenced, and the rats are leaping at the opportunity to try and blame it on Orange Man and his allies in the military.

    They blame him for Obama's migrant policies, after all. I bet it seems like a decent gambit from their end. The house would never have backed it if they didn't think it could screw Trump somehow.

    Tl:dr, things might actually be happening here. We shall see...

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  5. Where I live, in the People's Republic of New York State, with our relative proximity to Lyme, Connecticut (the disease is named for that location) and also Plum Island/PIADCNY (Plum Island Animal Disease Center of New York, in Long Island Sound, near Lyme Connecticut), run by DHS, we have our own thoughts on whether Lyme was a government/military project run amuck.

    It's gotten bad enough where I am that after most outdoor excursions we have to check our bodies for deer ticks which are the most common vector of Lyme. Sounds bad but, here are some personal anecdotes:

    Our firing range used for requalification is in a wooded area. Every time we go, a handful of officers find ticks afterward. Three have contracted Lyme.

    When I go hiking, I have to dress for ticks: Long pants, high socks overlapping. And I still check after. I have found two on my pants. I used to hike in cargo shorts but the last time I did that, I found a tick. Luckily it didn't bite yet. I have embraced winter hiking again for this very reason, incidentally.

    Last spring, two boys on my son's baseball team got deer ticks on them. They got deer ticks in short, manicured grass on a baseball field (often the opposite of what people are warned about). One boy contracted Lyme.

    This past fall three girls on my daughter's soccer team found ticks. And two more boys on my son's soccer team also found them.

    My wife and I are Tick Nazis, so to speak, checking and looking constantly and even that is no guarantee.

    When I was Mountain Search and Rescue, back in the mid-90s, I hadn't heard of Lyme, except in a vague 'Some disease over there' kind of way. By 1997, we were warned of cases in Duchess County (down toward "The City"), as that was as far north as the disease and Deer Ticks had come (at least in NYS)

    By 1998, Deer ticks were in the Adirondacks, where I live. And we were taking mandatory classes on identification and removal of Deer Ticks. But they were still somewhat rare. Now they are shockingly commonplace.

    Of course, the USG disputes all that conspiracy mongering about Lyme Disease and Plum Island. But as Vox Day says, we know they lie to us. Constantly. We know the official story is hardly ever the whole truth. And we know they aren't above such despicable things like the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment.


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    1. Thank you for the informative and chilling firsthand analysis.

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  6. We don't even need to imagine a particularly nefarious reason. Biological pest controls are a major agricultural tool, and several of the early attempts were disastrous.

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  7. The opening screenshot is from incomplete info that's somewhat feeding conspiracy theories on its own. The disease was known at the folk level going back to the per-contact native indigenous tribes and Europeans. The first known western description from a recognized medical source for the disease is from the 1760's, and even identifies ticks as the vector. Ötzi the Iceman's blood had the markers for having contracted the disease too. It had a variety of local names throughout this time (I've heard from older relatives and read in old letters sheep tick fever, Bannwarth syndrome, Montauk Knee)and was finally given the official name Lyme disease after an unusual cluster of cases appeared in 1975 in the areas of Lyme and Old Lyme.

    The odd stuff is that cluster and the explosion of it in the 70's and since, mostly on the E coast. Several nasties did escape Plum Island Animal Disease Center around this time and it is in the area, so it's possible. The 50's-70's were also the time when the government was doing a lot of population testing of drugs and diseases without notifying people. There's also a similar tick-borne disease that's in the general vicinity of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. So these fears that the current issues are caused by the government taren't entirely unfounded.

    The other thing that was happening was in the late 1800's through early 1900's people abandoned a LOT of the farms and old colonial towns in the areas this has been happening and moved west, to the point that a lot of areas that look like never disturbed continuous forests now, you can go in and map out old road and farming pen networks and find old house foundations if you bother looking off-trail. Ruins of entire villages and small towns are out there that everyone's forgotten about. Around the 1970's, when the initial Lyme-named Lyme outbreaks happened is when the forests had finally regrown to the point that undergrowth was thick enough to support a tick population explosion. These areas haven't really had underbrush cleared out since, so they're still tick hell, but they have cut a lot of trail heads into them for recreation in the 70's thru 90's, increasing people's exposure chances. These are all areas the old sources peg as tick hell and having ongoing problems with Lyme using the pre-Lyme names during colonial/early-America settlement.

    The association with the research facilities could also just be a location/timing coincidence and people are jumping at shadows because our government has done hinky stuff. This could just be something similar to the California Fires effect, where they stopped controlled burning, clear-cutting underbrush, and allowed massive expansion of the forests, and had massive movement into communities established in those forests by mostly wealthy people because the area's pretty out there over the last several generations...seriously, look at pictures from the 1890's. A lot of the continuouly forested hill ranges were large isolated copses. Fire management was something even the tribal nations of the area figured out a thousand+ years ago and the colonial settlers continued it. The fall-off of those practices has been long enough for most people to forget that was a normal thing and why it was done. Now they're reaping the fiery whirlwind and are surprised at the amount and extent of the fires and are blaming it entirely on global warming because its rise coincides with the timeframe chosen for those issues.

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    1. Fascinating stuff!

      Ever heard of Dudleytown? It's an old Colonial-era ghost town in Massachusetts that Dan Aykroyd called the most haunted place on Earth.

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    2. I've heard a bit of Dudleytown and seen some pictures, but haven't looked into it a lot.

      There's a lot of places like that in New England though, particularly in the transition areas between mountain and lowlands in New York and Pennsylvania, even some down into the Atlantic side of Virginia and Maryland, though the further south you go, the less stuff got abandoned.

      The easiest things to find are the rock pen enclosure walls, which in a lot of places are still a foot or two high and tend to be fairly unbroken for long stretches unless a tree rooted in them. Foundations can be a bit dangerous if they're pit/basement types, so I don't recommend messing with those if you ever find such things.

      The tick/Lyme stuff is half just stuff I grew up with -Grandpa/grandma/great uncles and aunts calling it Lyme, Sheep Tick Fever, and Deer Tick fever interchangeably- and half seriously looking into this the first time I ran into this idea. I probably deep-dove so much because of the elders' talking about that stuff randomly in their warnings about checking ourselves over when we got back from the woods.

      My money's on a lot of it being natural factors and humanity having short memory on such things. It wouldn't surprise me if the government tinkered with it though, but I'm under the impression that Plum Island is even more scary stuff like Anthrax and Mad Cow (which did escape containment a couple times there). That facility in Colorado is more where I'd look for government tinkering on this front though. That could be a natural variation due to convergent evolution, or the germ warfare guys testing/losing control of something they cooked up based on Lyme.

      Other scary disease stuff, with deer, recently: Wasting Disease. Officially it's still more north and west, but my cop buddy in Indiana has had to deal with it on his property. That one's a prion like Mad Cow. It makes something like zombie deer...they're not undead, but it makes them hyperaggressive and rot from the inside while still alive

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  8. There are a lot of abandoned areas like you mention in north east NYS and Vermont. Vermont especially for such a small state, has a lot of surprisingly desolate areas.

    A regional guy named Joseph Citro writes about Vermont weirdness and his books are very good.

    I see a lot of the ruins that Ranba Ral tells of in the southern Adirondacks and in the Green Mountains.

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