Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Truth About It

This is the music video portion to an upcoming video documentary about the creation of a nearly 2 ton steel sign that was an art installation at Burning Man 2007. The Piece was designed to draw attention to the evidence of the steel-melting incendiary, thermite,  found at ground zero, World Trade Centers, by Professor Steven Jones. The film will raise questions about the "official" story and delve into the realms of "belief" regarding difficult to assimilate truths.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saved By Baseball

There’s something going on in the USA right now-
changes and challenges. Perhaps not since the Great Depression has the US been faced with such serious mounting economic and social problems. The experts say things will be getting worse. My mom told me that when she was a kid growing up in the Depression, that people and communities helped each other. It seems like we’re being called on to turn in this direction again, and we have the signs on how it’s to be done.
I point to the 2008 Boston Red Sox. Yes, a baseball team, but not an ordinary baseball team. In 2004 Boston beat all the odds to come back from a 3-0 deficit against the New York Yankees to win the American league pennant race and then go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4 zip in the World Series. The doubters were far flung and pretty vocal, but some say “magic” prevailed. Yes, magic did prevail and now, against the Tampa Bay Rays, a similar story is being played out again. Down 3 games to 1, the Red Sox came back from the crypt to tie the series and play the final game 7 tonight in the 2008 American League pennant race. The Red Sox are a kind of ‘spiritual team’ in that they mirror for the country as a whole, the stuff it takes to overcome tremendous odds and defeat.
They’ve shown on so many occasions, that persistence, great team work, focus and talent can beat the odds. They do it in style, with grace and with authority. Pitcher Jonathan Paplebon, typifies this spirit best of all, in the Red Sox club house. The guy even looks like he meditates before ascending the mound to deliver his Zen like flurry of well placed pitches. Red Sox baseball, the “American Pastime” has become a metaphor for triumph and survival in hard times. Seeing one team do it and not be fazed by the specter of loss is an inspiration that travels deep into the hearts and minds of the soul of America. It sticks with kids facing similar challenges in their own lives, and it sticks with grown ups, thereby bridging generations with a message a hope that is unifying and uplifting. The US needs the Red Sox like it needs fresh air. The country was pretty much born in Boston, so it isn’t so surprising that the path to a greater way of being would come from that same blessed city by the Atlantic. And yes, by a baseball team no less.

copyright 2008 John Parulis

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


And why? Consider this reprint from the Environmental Protection Information Center

The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, SMART is deeply connected to NCRA and NWP. A build for one is a boon for the other. Read this before you vote on the Billion.3 Tax Proposal to fund SMART.

The End of the Line for the NWP
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad (NWP) spans approximately 300 miles between Shellville, north of San Pablo Bay, and Arcata, California. Beginning in Healdsburg, the rail line runs directly adjacent to the Russian River, then in Willits it begins a 110 mile stretch through the Eel River Canyon, a Wild and Scenic River and one the most geologically unstable and seismically active areas on earth. The NWP follows the Eel River until it meets with Humboldt Bay, where it is estimated that more than 90% of the saltwater marsh habitat has been lost due to the railroad.

The unstable geology, frequent seismic activity and high rainfall along the route of the NWP make it one of the most illogically placed railroads in the world. The NWP travels at an average distance of only 30 feet from the Eel and Russian Rivers and Humboldt Bay, with its track below the high water mark in many locations. Floods are common in both the Eel and Russian Rivers, and the track is frequently swept away during peak flows. Through the canyons of these rivers, the railroad runs through the "inner gorge" area, which is extremely steep and susceptible to landslides. These steep slopes are cut at the bottom to make a flat surface for the track, which also cuts into the "toe," or bottom, of many landslide features along the route. At many locations the track is laid on top of fill that is placed into the rivers. "The terrain presents steep relief in the Russian and Eel River Canyons. These canyons are up to 3,000 feet deep and the track runs near the river level at the bottom. Slopes are generally 25 to 40 degrees within these canyons with some localized steeper areas where there are nearly vertical sections of up to 100 feet high. The Eel River is incised into the toe of these slopes and there is generally a 30 to 60 foot high bluff (45 degrees or steeper) at the edge of the river. Near Rio Dell, there are 200 to 300 foot-high nearly vertical cliffs…" [URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, 1998]. The geology of the areas along the route of the NWP consists of the "Wildcat Group," "Yager Formation" and "Franciscan Complex," all of which have frequent landslide and other "mass wasting" events. The rocks included in the "chaotic mixture" that make up the Franciscan Complex include "graywacke" material, which is known locally as "blue-goo" because its blue colored soil constantly liquefies and oozes downhill during saturated conditions. Id. The Wildcat Group is found near Scotia and Rio Dell, where there are 200 to 300 foot high rock cliffs that "break along intersecting joints and bedding, forming wedges and toppling blocks that fall onto the tracks. These blocks present a hazard to the railroad and are sometimes large enough to damage the track, embankments, and retaining structures." Id. Slopes with the Yager Formation commonly experience rotational and translational slides, slumps, debris flows, and other types of landslides. Id. The railroad also traverses along and across numerous fault lines, with the primary forces in the region being the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. Additionally, rainfall in this area can exceed 100 inches in a winter season.

Construction of the NWP was completed in 1914. Its problems started from the very beginning, when it was flooded and wiped out by landslides before it opened, and then when a giant landslide blocked the return of dignitaries to Eureka during the NWP's grand opening event. The railroad has been continuously damaged since this time, constantly closing down because of landslides and other problems. The NWP was owned by Southern Pacific Railroad until the mid-1980's. In 1983 Southern Pacific attempted to abandon the northern portion of the railroad, saying it was costing the company much more to repair and maintain the line than they could make. During administrative proceedings on the abandonment before the Interstate Commerce Commission, the president of Southern Pacific said that it was costing the company an average of $1,000,000 each month to maintain the line between Willits and Eureka, and that the company's losses totaled approximately $70,000,000. Of the abandonment, he stated that "We're not happy being here, but we're so certain there is no possibility of a viable operation that this is the last harrah." The Interstate Commerce Commission denied Southern Pacific's application for abandonment, and Bryan Wipple, a Eureka businessman, purchased the line in 1984. Just two years later, Wipple filed for bankruptcy. The Willits-to-Arcata portion of the line remained under a court-appointed trustee until 1992, when the State of California formed the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) to purchase and manage the NWP. The NCRA has since purchased the entire line from Sonoma County to Arcata. After the NCRA purchased the NWP, the track suffered extensive damage in four of the six years before the Federal Railroad Authority officially closed it in 1998. During the winters of 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1998, "[h]igh water in the Eel River and Outlet Creek washed away railroad embankments along several sections of track. Some culverts and drainage structures under the tracks were blocked with debris, causing failures. Landslides cover the tracks in several locations." Draft Environmental Assessment, January 2000. When the entire line of the NWP was officially closed by the Federal Railroad Authority in 1998, "the FRA had already issued emergency orders on the [railroad] as clearly failing to meet Class I standards." URS Greiner Woodward Clyde 1998.

In addition to landslides, fiscal mismanagement and other problems, the history of the NCRA is replete with violations of the law. At numerous places along the track, hydraulic fluid, diesel fuel and other toxic contaminants are actively leaking into the Eel and Russian Rivers and Humboldt Bay due to negligence on behalf of the NCRA. Water samples have shown these toxic spills are having dire consequences to water quality and aquatic life, with extremely high levels of lead, diesel, fluorene, barium, cadmium, silver, and other toxic chemicals. For example, water samples detected lead, which impacts aquatic creatures at levels as low as 14.0 parts per billion (ppb), at a concentration of 2,900 ppb in Outlet Creek (tributary to the Eel River). The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board filed numerous clean-up and abatement orders against the NCRA due to these problems, all of which were repeatedly ignored by the NCRA. Other state agencies also took various enforcement actions for the hazardous pollution stemming from the NWP, but the NCRA repeatedly violated the orders issued by these agencies as well and refused to clean up these areas. In 1997, the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Regional Water Quality Control Board filed a lawsuit against the NCRA/NWP for numerous violations of the Fish and Game Code, Health and Safety Code and the Water Code. To settle the suit, the NCRA entered into a consent decree in 1998, giving the court and the people of California their word that they would immediately clean up these sites and take restorative action to address the pollution problems caused by the NWP. However, to this day the NCRA has not taken any steps to stop these problems, even in areas where open containers are overflowing and spilling petroleum products directly into the soil and water. In addition to these water quality violations, the NCRA has also violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other environmental laws. Early in 2000, the NCRA attempted to circumvent the ESA and the National Environmental Policy Act and carried out illegal "hazing" activities to frighten away bald eagles and other birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that reconstructing and operating the railroad will disrupt the nesting activities of the bald eagle. Rather than waiting until after the nesting season for the bird was completed, the NCRA began driving trucks up and down the railroad right-of-way, blasting recorded construction and railroad noises at 90 decibels. Their hope was to drive away all the bald eagles and then wildlife agencies could not say that reconstruction or operating the railroad would harm the listed bird. EPIC sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Authority as soon as we became aware of the situation, and threatened court action unless the illegal activities were terminated. Shortly after, FEMA demanded that the NCRA stop the bird hazing and they ceased. Of course, if the NWP is reconstructed and operations begin, habitat along the Eel River will again be lost for the bald eagle and other rare birds.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Island Mountain Quarry

Mike Arnold: Freight train impact is growing
Staff Report
Article Launched: 07/17/2007 11:05:51 PM PDT

Mike Arnold

THE IMPACT of freight trains on Novato and Sonoma County residents is dependent on the number of trains the North Coast Railroad Authority will operate, the length of the trains and when they will operate.

Until recently, many residents in both counties had mistakenly believed that there would be only a few short freight trains per week operating during the day. The Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit board reinforced this misconception when it adopted an environmental impact report that claimed there would be only a few trains per week, none greater than 12 cars long.

The NCRA's purpose is to restart freight service between Eureka and Lombard (Napa County), and the state is supporting that plan with millions of dollars in subsidies, providing the NCRA with more than $50 million since November. Additional funding for the NCRA is provided in legislation (SB861) recently introduced by state Sen. Pat Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa. The bill passed the Senate and is heading for approval in the Assembly. Sen. Carole Migden voted for it. Assemblyman Jared Huffman has indicated he will support the bill only if it is amended and limits funding to the rail line south of Willits.

The NCRA recently granted a freight operator license to the Northwest Pacific Railroad Company. NWP's board includes Skip Berg, who received $20 million in earmarked funding in last year's federal transportation bill to develop Port Sonoma and Doug Bosco, former congressman from Northern California

and a longtime supporter of freight. Also on the board are principals of Evergreen Natural Resources, the company that owns the mining rights to Island Mountain quarry, adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Eel River in Trinity County. Evergreen Natural Resources has applied for a permit to mine Island Mountain and the NCRA owns 15 percent of the quarry.

According to Friends of the Eel River, the proposed quarry would level an entire mountain. The quarry is not accessible by truck and, according to the NWP business plan, would generate as much as 6 million tons of ore each year. Friends of the Eel River has estimated it would take 10 25-car trains a day to haul that much ore through Novato to points east.

The NCRA is required to complete an EIR prior to restarting freight service. It announced last week that it intends to prepare a "focused" EIR that excludes any trains associated with the quarry operation. Such an approach is clearly illegal and ignores contradictory statements and documents provided by the NCRA to multiple public agencies.

For instance, the NCRA's strategic plan submitted to the California Transportation Commission indicates freight service limited to trains from Sonoma County is not economically viable in the long run. And the NWP's business plan submitted to the California Transportation Commission states, "Because of the importance and magnitude of the potential revenue stream projected from the movement of large volumes of aggregate from Island Mountain, NWP would like to reopen the portion of the Eel River Division from Willits to Island Mountain as soon as possible."

The NCRA's current count of trains also is not consistent with a May 31 memo from NCRA Executive Director Mitch Stogner to the NCRA board. That memo describes more trains than the 32 trains per week they plan to evaluate in their EIR and describes two northbound and two southbound "65-car rock trains from Island Mountain quarry." (Frequency was not stated.)

The NCRA's plans to restart freight have negatively impacted SMART's political agenda and SMART supporters are rightly frustrated by SMART's lack of foresight. A successful freight rail operation will have significant impacts on residents and on SMART's operations, neither of which was addressed in SMART's EIR. Consequently, SMART is required to prepare a "supplemental EIR."

Just as the NCRA's EIR must evaluate the many trains the NCRA plans to operate, so too must SMART's new analysis.

Even if the NCRA attempts to ignore trains hauling ore from the Island Mountain quarry, SMART can't, because it is constrained by voters. As the IJ editorial correctly states, "If (voters) sense they aren't hearing the full story, it won't matter when SMART is on the ballot."

Mike Arnold of Novato is co-chairman of Marin Citizens for Effective Transportation.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

SMART Protestors Harassed At Train Rally

September 24, 2008- Marin County brightpathvideo

SMART train opponents had one of their signs spat on and their posters blocked and tampered with by train supporters at a rally that was held today at Larkspur California’s Cal-Park tunnel to celebrate the commencement of the construction work on the tunnel. Present at the meeting were representatives of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Assemlyman 6th District, Jared Huffman, former Marin Supervisor, Cynthia Murray and SMART chair, Marin Supervisor, Charles McGlashan. Both McGlashan and Huffman downplayed the significance of potential harm to endangered species living along one of the trains Marin corridors, Gallinas Creek. Train opponents site traffic congestion,
increased development and spiraling costs as problems minimized by train supporters.

For more information on the “real” impacts and costs of the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, see

This is the video of a clapper rail filmed near the train bridge in September 2006:

Fact No. 1: Rail would not reduce congestion on Highway 101. SMART’s EIRs show that congestion levels all along Highway 101 would be no different with or without the train. Only 230 Sonoma county residents would take the train to Marin County during the morning peak by 2025-very few compared to the number making the trip by car.

Fact No. 2: The train would be an enormous expense, considering the few riders projected to take it. SMART's Project Funding Plan indicates that SMART would spend
$1.3 Billion over 20 years. Based on the projected number of riders, SMART would spend $50 per one-way ride.

By contrast, Golden Gate Transit's capital and operating costs per rider were $9 in 2006. In 2008 GGT and Marin County Transit provided 32,000 passenger-trips per day. Compare this to SMART’s estimate of 5,650 per day by 2025. .

Fact No. 3: Express buses would work far better in Marin and Sonoma than rail. Jobs are dispersed throughout the north bay, rather than in one or two economic centers. Ask yourself how you would get from a rail station to a job a mile from the station. Bus service would be far more convenient and would cost far less.

Fact No.4: SMART will compete with existing bus systems both for riders and funding. In many areas in which rail service has been introduced, bus service was reduced or realigned to promote rail use. In Los Angeles overall transit use declined after rail service began because bus routes were eliminated or realigned and bus fares were raised.

Rail backers want you to ignore these facts. Don't be railroaded by the slick literature you're sure to get this fall. The North Bay has much to lose if this measure passes.

30 million autos & trucks cross the Richmond San Rafael bridge every year making trips into Marin County. The train will have no impact on this traffic pattern. In-fill housing will add about 50,000 units along the trains length....think about the number of car trips that this will add. SMART is a developers' dream. Clapper rail habitat will be permanently lost if the train is allowed to cross the Gallinas Creek wetland.

Trains usually require a 3/4% tax, not a 1/2% tax as SMART is proposing. Trains in general are good ideas, however, this train is trying to cram itself into an infrastructure that will be severely effected in a stressful manner. The negatives far outweigh the positives on the train. Alternative fueled mass transit busing is the way to go in Marin and Sonoma.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ann Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull

I've been silent about this for over 22 years. In the late 80's I directed a video shoot in Los Angeles on one of many, Crystal Conventions. There, I met the guardians of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull, Nick Nocerino and Ann Mitchell-Hedges. Both of these people have since passed away. Ann was the daughter of F. Mitchell-Hedges, the explorer who allegedly discovered the skull in Belize. I met Ann and talked with her. She was a dignified, sweet lady who told the story of finding the skull deep within a cavity in a Mayan Temple under excavation in Belize. She told a story about how she shot an intruder in her tent during that dig. I got permission to film close up video of Ann and the skull as long as my intentions were pure and I didn't exploit the film for monetary gain. My impression of Ann was that she was honest, guileless and very sincere. It seems a great stretch to me that she would care to be involved in or perpetrate a hoax for so long and with such conviction. What is so hard about trying to take her at her word? Regarding the recent science explaining the crafting of the skull, I ask, is this research iron clad? Can there be other explanations for the findings. Is it possible that the skull may have been tampered with to produce the so called modern evidence of carborundum? Here's a link to the latest story on the skull from a debunkers perspective:

I saw the skull for quite some time and from very close up. The workmanship on it is extraordinary. Wouldn't you think that counterfeiters would try to make the thing look hand made or rough to some extent to render a veneer of believability? I saw a near perfect piece of art that emanated a strong felt presence.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Michael Parenti

Jan 22, 2008 at City Lights SF, Michael dissects official motives for the declining state of things.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Harsh Winds and Rain Rocked Marin County

brightpathvideo filmed some of the intense water flows through San Anselmo and Corte Madera Creeks, on Jan 4, 2008, areas of damaging flooding two years ago.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gallinas Creek Activists Keep Push to Save Clapper Rails

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

Gallinas Creek activists push on in the New Year, despite slapp suits and developer friendly San Rafael City government.
Click on the picture of John Parulis to play our latest clapper rail video.