12.17.14

Seth Rogen’s digital Pearl Harbor

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 4:35 pm by George Smith

What happens when hackers from North Korea, according to the US government, threaten the American arm of an entertainment giant, Sony, over a mediocre-to-crappy movie, Seth Rogen’s The Interview, set to open Xmas Day?

Americans fold. Despite the lack of any actual credible threat of violence, three big theater chains backed out of showing it and Sony pulled the plug at the same time the US government was attempting to finger North Korea. (Here’s the NY Times piece with the usual array of unattributed sources.)

For the sake of amusement, let’s take a look at Variety’s review of the movie:

North Korea can rest easy: America comes off looking at least as bad as the DPRK in “The Interview,” an alleged satire that’s about as funny as a communist food shortage, and just as protracted. For all its pre-release hullabaloo — including two big thumbs down from Sony hackers the Guardians of Peace — this half-baked burlesque about a couple of cable-news bottom-feeders tasked with assassinating Korean dictator Kim Jong-un won’t bring global diplomacy to its knees, but should feel like a kind of terror attack to any audience with a limited tolerance for anal penetration jokes. Extreme devotees of stars James Franco and Seth Rogen (who also co-directed with Evan Goldberg) may give this Christmas offering a pass, but all others be advised: An evening of cinematic waterboarding awaits.

That’s cold.

Variety’s Scott Foundas wrote the review on the 12th, a day after a showing in Hollywood. And the only thing wrong with its lede graph is that, yes, someone was brought to their knees. Sony and Rogen.

This morning, as Senior Fellow for GlobalSecurity.Org, I was interviewed by the Voice of America on the matter. And the best I could say was that Sony had handled everything very badly.

It stumbled into being a shit magnet. Publicity stemming from the culture of lickspittle’s love of celebrity voyeurism served hackers beyond what anyone might have imagined.

Sony is a corporation that is probably too big and sprawling to ever secure on today’s Internet. The nature of its employees, its business and they way everything is now exposed on the global network make it impossible. Just as they do with lots of other big American corporations recently victimized by hackers in massive break-ins. (Part of the occasional Computer Security for the 1 Percent series.)

Once again, the amount of data lost to the net was stupefying. Said to be the equivalent of ten Libraries of Congress, everybody’s e-mail, their credentials, plans, billions of files.

Ten terabytes. How do you analyze, even look, at all of it? No one can.

Computer security experts may lie and say it’s doable but that’s all rubbish, the only thing noticeable being the scandalous, impolitic and rude bits, ephemera, of great interest to the media for all the numbingly predictable reasons.

Sony’s problem is that by canceling the movie it will take at least a 30-40 million dollar loss. Catalyzing it was the laughably poor behavior of the theater chains that pulled the movie from their thousands of screens for Xmas day.

Another problem with long range ramifications is that the corporate response has very obviously crashed morale company-wide. Bring on the fear and loathing and embedded institutional paranoia! It’s a great environment for an entertainment giant reliant on the labor of creative people.

I’ve come to expect absurd, timorous and counter-productive behavior from Americans, particularly the very important people who are in charge of things. I suspect many others have the same impression.

Today the bleak humor of US reality is better than anything Hollywood could have put on the screen. God knows, it has certainly given Seth Rogen enough material for the next couple years.

For example, over the holidays Rogen can contemplate how he, his jokes about stuff being stuffed up the butt written while baked, Sony, a hack of an entertainment company (for cryin’ out loud), and silly threats about nationwide attacks on theaters, have given the President yet another headache. [1] One that will force him into eventually making a meaningless statement coupled with the appearance of doing something.

When there’s nothing to do. Sony isn’t going to fail.

Retaliate? Against North Korea for allegedly sending hackers to derail a movie that includes:

The slow-acting poison [ricin] with which the characters are meant to contaminate Kim, concealed on a small adhesive strip, practically begs to be passed around like a hot potato, or perhaps lost in a Band-Aid factory, but all we get is a rather lame bit about [Rogen] having to conceal the poison (and its large conical container) inside his rectum.

Seriously. Ricin, yet! Always ricin. Ricin up yer ass! Genius!

By now you should be howling with laughter. Not at the movie, of course, but with what’s happened due to it. It’s the only rational response.

Seth Rogen was paid $8.4 million for the thing. And that brings us back to one of the characteristics of computer security stories for the 1 percent. The people who are paid everything don’t lose anything, really. They’re too important.

A momentary embarrassment over the holidays, perhaps. Six months from now Seth Rogen will be doing something else for a few million more.

Maybe he’ll even get to write a book about it. Something about digital Pearl Harbor. How his battleship was scuttled.


Picked on a paranoid country with the biggest national inferiority complex on the planet, North Korea. Lost and was deserted by his sponsors.


1. Rolling Stones’ story on Rogen, today, lede graph:

It’s not every day you get to sit down with the guys who might be responsible for starting World War III. And it’s definitely not every day that they’re getting baked when you do.

“Hell-o!” booms Seth Rogen on a June afternoon as the door to his L.A. office swings open, revealing him and comedy partner/hetero lifemate Evan Goldberg preparing to take a mighty hit from a bong.


The technology aspect of the story is much less interesting than what is shown about the psychology of a big company. It’s a house of cards.

We know large corporations deal with threats by either ignoring them, dispatching an army of lawyers and fixers or government capture. In this case, Sony had nothing going for it. The lawyers had nobody to go after. The op-ed pieces didn’t work. The rather astonishing publicity did not make theater chains confident.

What did it do, though? Dispatched lawyers to threaten journalists.

UPDATE

Quote from Variety, emblematic of what’s wrong with Sony’s management: “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public.”

The “American public” was not damaged. I wasn’t. Do you feel damaged?


With the movie canceled nationwide on Xmas day, there is one thing left that Sony, or some of its employees (and perhaps soon to be ex-employees) can do. Even Seth Rogen could do it.

Leak The Interview to the net. If it hasn’t already been done. [2]

There’s only one way to stop it then.

A real digital Pearl Harbor, one of the parts of it that all the national security experts like to talk about: Switching off the power in the US.


2. An idea, coincidentally, endorsed by Mitt Romney.


Mirrored, at GlobalSecurity. Share, share, share, share, share.

12.16.14

Weapon of the Week’s best use: Crowd suppression in America

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:00 pm by George Smith

I wrote about something called the “sonic pain stick” in 2003 for the Village Voice as part of a column called “Weapon of the Week” in the run-up to the Iraq war. The mainstream media was publicizing alleged miracle weapons that would make the war antiseptic and the “sonic pain stick” by “American Technology Corporation” (could there be a better name!) was one of them. The “sonic pain stick” was never of use in Iraq or the Middle East because it has no application when people can shoot back with AKs and rifle-propelled grenades.

Today it has the more common name, LRAD, and “American Technology Corporation” is the LRAD Corporation. It’s now commonly used on protesters in NYC.

Excerpted from a write-up on a legal protest from the National Lawyers Guild on the cruel use of LRADs in CommonDreams:

Videos of officers using the LRADs surfaced on December 4 and 5 during marches that came after a grand jury’s failure to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Eric Garner. Crowds can be seen dispersing quickly as loud, shrill, repetitive beeps ring out in short blasts over and over …


Initially developed as a sound weapon for the military, the LRAD’s so-called deterrent tone is meant to hit human hearing at its most sensitive levels. As Amnesty International explains, “LRADs can pose serious health risks which range from temporary pain, loss of balance and eardrum rupture, to permanent hearing damage” …One protester who attended the marches when the LRADs were used told Gothamist that he had residual pain from the sound cannon blast for the next six days …


Moreover, the sound cannons can hurt those not actively protesting. “The LRAD can cause hearing damage, and possible neurological damage, to anyone in its path.”

There’s also an armored LRAD truck that has been made available to city police forces.

In 2003 the LRAD was part of a boom in defense spending for non-lethal weapons to be used in the war on terror overseas. Most of the inventions were never used, one of the primary reasons being they’re easily viewed in public as elements of torture. This because they were and are solely designed to cause increasing levels of pain. (Note: Although this seems not to have mattered in the secret overseas sites where, by comparison, simpler, prolonged and far more obvious mechanisms of torturing and administrations of pain were the rules.)

In 2003, eleven years ago, I wrote this:

New methods of American technical torture continue to roll off private-sector assembly lines in the effort to aid the war on terror. One of the most aggressively pitched is a meter-long sonic pain stick marketed to the Department of Defense by the American Technology Corporation of San Diego.

In a recent full-court press to the media, the company gaily described the sonic baton’s potential to agonize terrorists on airplanes, where flying bullets wouldn’t do. Intended for use at short range, the weapon projects sound intense enough to cause temporary loss of hearing, perhaps nullifying its effect, or possibly shattering the hijacker’s eardrums. It would also probably agonize or rupture the hearing of everyone else in an enclosed cabin, blocking the communication of useful commands like “Get that terrorist bastard!”


The soldiers, weirdos, sadists, and tinkerers enthusiastic about acoustic technology envision strapping the sonic pain stick to an M-16. While it would be no good in situations where people can shoot back or even throw rocks, it certainly could have its uses in rousting frightened women and children from closets in an occupied Iraq.

America’s nonlethal-weapons scientists note that in our country, hearing aids and surgery can mitigate damage to the outer and middle ear caused by such a weapon. However, mangling of the inner ear is permanent. But in poor or just bombed-flat foreign lands, access to health insurance to pay for damage claims, hearing aids, and good surgeons may be hard to come by. Nonlethal weaponeers are also vexed by the fact that once one’s ears are ruined, the sonic weapon loses its bite.

Seriously, at the time, that was what was said to push the LRAD: It could be used on airplanes. And that once your ears are damaged by it, it loses effectiveness.

Needless to say, the LRAD is another weapon designed and manufactured thanks to the taxpayer. It is also fair to add that, technically, the American people ought to be owed a royalty on every one sold. But that’s not how things work. The taxpayer is on the hook twice. Once for funding the development of it. The second time, locally, for equipping police departments that purchase them.

So after being designed and built in different models with different looks and varying degrees of broadcast power, a decade later the LRAD has found its primary role in the hands of the state in suppression of free speech and the right to assemble. And the United States in 2014 is its best market because social unrest, predictably and for just cause, is increasing.

Remember the old bullshit everyone was told when we went off to blast the terrorists in Iraq and everywhere else, the thing you still occasionally hear today?

“They hate us for our freedoms.”

Please pardon the excruciating pain in your ear while you’re exercising your right to peacefully protest.

This collection of images shows the spread of LRAD purchases (as well as LRAD-equipped armored vehicles) throughout the country.

And here.

Majority of Americans ready & willing to be Nazis

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror, WhiteManistan, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 11:57 am by George Smith

Another day, another milestone, in WhiteManistan:

A majority of Americans believe that the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were justified, even as about half the public says the treatment amounted to torture, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

By an almost 2-1 margin, or 59-to-31 percent, those interviewed support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying they produced valuable intelligence.

In general, 58 percent say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.”

The only good news is the pool was restricted to a sample size of 1,000.

I have a hard time believing such a small sample provides much meaningful information in a country as segmented and economically riven as the United States.

Many people just can’t be reached on the telephone anymore, for a whole slew of good reasons.

Daniel Muiter, 26, of Smithfield, N.C., a libertarian, said torturing people during war was appropriate if there was reasonable suspicion the individuals had important information that could aid the United States.

Dude was thirteen when we started torturing people. Representative? I’m thinking maybe not so much.

12.12.14

He’s Doing God’s Work

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll, The Corporate Bund at 4:02 pm by George Smith

How a New York Times Dealbook blog post might have read, but didn’t:

Speaking at the Dealbook conference in Manhattan, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein said Wall Street had come to occupy an unwelcome position in Washington similar to where the military was during the Vietnam War protests. “I certainly don’t think it’s a virtue to declare a big segment of the economy off limits,” Mr. Blankfein said.”

““You’ve seen a little bit of a tension between capital and labor,” he said. This response when asked about Uber and the billions being taken off workers by the Silicon Valley predatory system known as “the sharing economy.”

Mr. Blankfein also likes Hillary Clinton, just as she likes Wall Street and Goldman Sachs. He wouldn’t mind if she was Queen the next President.

“I’ve always been a big fan of Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Mr. Blankfein also voiced dismay that Senator Elizabeth Warren’s vehement opposition to the nomination Wall Street plutocrat Antonio Weiss for Sec’y of Treasury was gumming up the works.

After all, what was wrong with Mr. Weiss getting a 20 million dollar pay-out for leaving the Street and joining government?

“Why does the country benefit from making something hard so much harder?” Mr. Blankfein said.

Times tells us that it stands still in the USA. So you will want to hear “Let’s Lynch Lloyd Blankfein” from the album Loud Folk Live which you should also buy before Christmas because it’s cheap — 5 dollars (!) — and you can hear your host make jokes.

The picture of Mr. Blankfein is really boss, too, perfect for the song. So click that SoundCloud link!

12.10.14

First ricin case suspect bailed, ever

Posted in Bioterrorism, Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 8:00 pm by George Smith

In the last twenty years, nobody has ever been released on bail in a ricin case. That’s NOBODY.

Get arrested for making castor powder. Go to jail. Stay there. Eventually, prison. It’s what happens to everyone in this small uniquely American demographic.

All that changed this week when Preston Rhoads of Oklahoma City was bailed on $200,000 and left to house arrest in the home of parents:

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man who was accused of plotting to kill his pregnant girlfriend with ricin has been released from jail.

Preston Rhoads was granted a $200,000 bond on Friday.

He will now go home to his parents’ house in Ada, where he will remain under house arrest.

Rhoads was charged with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of solicitation to commit murder in April.

Police received a tip that he was looking to hire someone to slip his girlfriend ricin in order to kill his unborn child.

Earlier, on Preston Rhoads, from the archives:

Today, Preston Rhoads, 30 of Oklahoma City, makes the second young American in 60 days to have been tabbed as influenced by Walter White, Breaking Bad and its secondary plot of ricin poisoning. Rhoads is the fourth young man arrested this year in connection with ricin-kookism, already up one from three arrests in the 12 months of last year.

The first [this year] was young Danny Milzman, a student at Georgetown University, of whom much has already been written here …


Wire news reported: “Test results have confirmed ricin was a substance found in the home of murder-for-hire suspect Preston Rhoads.

“A law enforcement source confirmed with News 9 the substance tested 100% positive for the deadly toxin. However, the substance was only found inside the home and police officers were not exposed.

“Oklahoma City Police and FBI agents say Rhoads was planning a murder before they searched his home on Thursday. The FBI says it processed his place for hazardous materials after finding the unknown substance, now identified as ricin.”


As in the case of Georgetown student Danny Milzman, Rhoads — although much older — was described as a perfect son by distraught friends and family members.

And, indeed, what profiling material exists upon the net supports this view.

Smiling faces of many friends [adorned] his Facebook page. And a self-made video of Rhoads on Vimeo shows an affable young man describing his career and education as a creator of digital art.

This year there have been more ricin cases than ever, up from 2013, which was also a bumper year in this small but nationally famous trend.
In 2013, three people were arrested and two already convicted in ricin, cases, all three which involved mailing castor powder to the president.

This year there have been five young men arrested in ricin cases this year: Rhoads, Danny Milzman of Georgetown University, Nicholas Todd Helman of Hatboro, PA, for a contaminated scratch-and-sniff card sent to a rival, Jesse Korff of Labelle, Florida, for ricin production and sale of abrin, the latter on which he has pleaded guilty, and — most recently, University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh student Kyle Allen Smith.

Smith remains in jail as does Nicholas Helman whose case was complicated by alleged additional death threats made while jailed. Danny Milzman pleaded guilty to making ricin, received a sentence of one year and one day, and will probably be released in January.

Much more on these cases can be found in the Ricin Kooks tab.

The archive of ricin case lore produced by this blog is comprehensive. Nothing else exists, anywhere, like it.

It makes troubling, confounding, and strange reading since the phenomenon of ricin-makers, or castor powder tinkerers, is almost entirely American. No other culture, no other western civilization, has anything like it. It is American exceptionalism in pure form.

While the numbers of people involved in it are small they always make national news.

Why are certain people drawn to pounding castor seeds? It would take a book to explain it.

Initially it was born of the belief in the far right in this country, now virtually universal in many quarters, that one had to be armed to the teeth to fight off tyrannical government, the encroaching UN, or anyone who might be coming for your stuff if civilization collapsed.

That cultural DNA inspired, and still inspires, a voluminous production of samizdat literature on weapons and the making of them from whatever is at hand. Poisons, like ricin, were and are part of it.

But today, ricin-making, that is the alleged easy production of a weapon of mass production, is part of American culture as accepted wisdom and entertainment. Movies and dramatic television (party like Heisenberg/Walter White!), books — fiction and non-fiction, and many related things now regularly stew American audiences in the lore of ricin.

The result: A civilization that thinks it knows a lot about it, the a lot being all rubbish.


No fatalities have ever been attributed to ricin in the war on terror. Indeed, there have been no ricin murders during the same period. Occasionally, castor bean mash is used for suicide. From the information that can be found, most attempts are unsuccessful.

One made the news earlier this year.

Navy ray guns set to lousy synth dance rock

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle at 2:19 pm by George Smith

This is how we spend our money: Video promotions of big laser guns that can destroy a couple flimsy toys, floating or flying. Mounted on a giant naval vessel in the Persian Gulf. Oh, and set to a synthetic rock soundtrack that wouldn’t have made it on MTV in the Eighties.


The empire’s idea of cool brainlessly set to old shooter video game rock: So bad, virtually beyond words.

From the publicity:

“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement Wednesday. “We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”

The laser performed flawlessly through a range of adverse weather conditions and took out moving targets both at sea and in the air, including small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Operated via a “video-game like controller,” the system is designed to go from non-lethal to lethal output to stun or destroy “asymmetrical threats” like small ships and UAVs.

Asymmetrical threats, of course, meaning skiffs and plastic boats with a machine gun or a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on them, manned by paupers, preferably smaller and almost always not-white.

With the largest military in world history the US isn’t capable of winning wars anymore. And that’s because its war-fighting strategies, for all the firepower, manpower and money spent, are appalling to the rest of the world.

Sure, it can wreck things and reduce cities and infrastructure to rubble globally.

But you can’t win when the disdain of the entire planet is on you. Fritzing poor people with billion dollar extravagances in misused technology is always going to be a very public disaster. Almost as brilliant as adopting torture.

Keywords: Ponce, laser, gun, LAWS

12.06.14

The Scamming Economy: Red hot tech innovation

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, The Corporate Bund at 1:39 pm by George Smith

Tech industry start-ups love the operation of the sharing scamming economy.

At its base is a smartphone driven global network that reduces people to pieceworkers. That is poverty level pay work akin to jobs from the 18th and 19th century, only made new through the smartphone and the desktop for the 21st.

Old piecework slavery is now called being a micro-entrepreneur. Perhaps micro because the compensation is microscopic.

From the San Jose Mercury News we get a press release for it, dressed up as business news, tipped by Frank from Pine View Farm.

The essentials:

What’s often known as the “sharing economy” — represented by legions of Airbnb hosts, drivers for Lyft and Uber and countless other micro-entrepreneurs — has increasingly gone mainstream, creating thousands of jobs and new business models in the process.

Now Peers, a San Francisco-based organization that has advocated for sharing economy startups during various regulatory battles, is pivoting to focus on a growing issue: the myriad needs of the workers involved.

How does someone who earns money as an independent contractor deal with taxes? What happens when a car-sharing driver gets in an accident? Is there a mortgage broker who will work with someone who has income from three sharing economy sources? And how does a sharing-economy worker plan for retirement?

“There’s a new class of worker, and by some estimates it’s 2 million workers globally making $10 billion a year,” said Shelby Clark, executive director of Peers. “We think there are major gaps for workers in the sharing economy, and we want to create solutions.”

Solutions, indeed. What the fugleman from Peers is counting on is nobody in the readership pausing to do a brief calculation.

So let’s do it for them.

If you consider Shelby Clark’s figure of earnings accurate even though there is no reason to do so, 10 billion divided by 2 million equals $5,000/year.

In the United States, where the cost of living is high, that optimistic new piecework wage, technology enabled, boils down what’s left of the middle class to well below the poverty level.

Where can you live in the US on $5,000/year?

Certainly not in southern California.

Piecework jobs have always existed. Corporate America has a love affair with them because they do away with labor protections, paying of benefits and decent pay for a days work.

Most recently the Economic Hardship project, a journalism effort led by author Barbara Ehrenreich, developed this story, published in Elle called Hypereducated and on Welfare.

The people in the story don’t need the sharing economy and smartphone apps to provide work, to lift them up. They already have work that takes up all their time, provides no security, no benefits, and leaves them broke.

An excerpt:

Much political rhetoric these days is devoted to the importance of broadening access to college—and there is plenty of evidence that it’s still better financially to have a degree than not—but in the postcrash world of 2014, a good education may not keep you from hovering near the poverty line. The number of people with graduate degrees receiving food assistance or other forms of federal aid nearly tripled between 2007 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census. More specifically, 28 percent of food-stamp households were headed by a person with at least some college education in 2013, compared with 8 percent in 1980, according to an analysis by University of Kentucky economists.

In the US, people earning the kind of money theoretically attributed to the sharing economy are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, EBT (food stamps), WIC (women, infants and children food program) and the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

These services make up part of America’s poor social safety net. But altogether they are much better than any clip job services offered by tech industry start-ups.

People beneath the poverty line certainly can’t pay mortgages and they don’t get and can’t afford to pay extra for workman’s compensation, another cracked rip-off proffered in the Mercury News piece.

Pay day loans, dollar stores and food banks are what people who drop into the $5,000/year category use. These services exist for the poor. There is no improvement to be gained from trivial Silicon Valley start-ups entering the same area.

Indeed, how would a smartphone app that deducts a fee for use fit into a dollar store economy other than as another fee squeezed from the working poor?

In the Nineties when I first moved to southern California I had a job sifting quarterly federal tax returns for the Internal Revenue Service.

Normally, this had been a civil service job. But the IRS had outsourced some of it in California to Manpower, making you a more poorly payed contract worker. A pieceworker. With no benefits.

Like the snake-oil salesman of the sharing economy, Manpower offered the contract employees what it call “benefits” and “services.” You could buy a health insurance policy through them, deducted from your wage, already reduced from what full civil service employees with benefits received.

It was a junk insurance program that paid zero except a bit in a catastrophic illness which inevitably would lead to your death. These types of policies, theoretically, were outlawed by Obamacare.

And earlier this year I posted on the tech business, Captricity, that received a contract from the FDA that reduced digitization of documents to piecework performed by crowd-sourcing on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

Think of it this way: It was the exchanging of civil service labor with pieceworkers earning nickels and dimes for the same process.

From it:

Marvel at the promotional video uploaded by the Empire of Bezos to showcase “Amazon Web Services.” It’s awesome in that it has the FDA’s Chief Health Informatics Officer, Taha Kass-Hout, going on for four minutes about the miracle of “turning manual submissions from the public into machine-readable information with 99.7% accuracy” without once mentioning Mechanical Turk or that the work is performed by digital sweat-shopping.

Instead Kass-Hout relates how the FDA had a “19th century problem” of backlogged paperwork …

It’s truly Orwellian, releasing a stink of vague obfuscation so that people who don’t know a thing about what’s going on in the background are led to believe it’s just another marvelous technical wonder on the road to the glorious future…

The Obama administration has put on a public populist face, one that chides the Republican Party and corporate America for allowing inequality to balloon and the compensation of workers to flat-line. And here is the man from the FDA, talking about a technical work-around that simply relies on paying people virtually nothing for record transcription work.

Implemented by a crappy and very small tech firm in the Silicon Valley, one that laughably maintained a blog with a post entitled “Evidence-Based Research to Combat Global Poverty.”

“We think there are major gaps for workers in the sharing economy, and we want to create solutions,” the person from Peers tells the Mercury News reporter.

“The Peers website allows people to find work in the sharing economy and manage their new lives as micro-entrepreneurs,” continues the newspaper. “Peers links to scores of sharing economy startups, including Vayable, where you can earn money by leading cultural experiences for travelers, and Urbansitter, a platform for nanny and baby sitting jobs.”

Much like TaskRabbit, another sharing economy start-up and old-fashioned Craigslist. And, of course, a tech platform that allows you to earn cash for stuff you don’t need anymore has always existed: It’s called eBay. Or the yard sale, of which there are many, in Pasadena.

Poverty wage workers have always been provided with services with which to liquidate their lives. Clip job service additions courtesy of the tech industry are not progress, innovation or wonderful.

“How does a scamming sharing economy worker plan for retirement”? asks reporter Dana Hull.

Pieceworkers can’t plan for retirement. How does one have a retirement on a couple insecure free-lancer jobs, with no benefits, that earn, at best — $5,000/year, plan for retirement?

It’s utterly ridiculous.

12.05.14

Pariah state

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 10:31 am by George Smith


The new Confederacy, much like the old.

Frank at Pine View Farm points to an honest but devastating analysis of the problem of WhiteManistan.

Excerpted from Racial Divide: The Tragedy of America’s first black President, from Der Spiegel:

The American problem has many different facets, but it is accurate to say that it is mostly white men who shoot young African-Americans in the service of the state.


The [Republican Party's] most radical supporters viewed Obama’s speeches and proposed legislation as nothing more than a black man’s attempt to exact revenge against the country’s white majority. Even if they don’t always say so, Obama’s opponents have always felt that his actions represent a threat to white people, whether he launched a federal investment programs aimed at economic stimulus or proposed making the healthcare system a little fairer.

You’ll notice the map from Der Spiegel showing a majority of African Americans still living in the old Confederacy.

And that is where they have now been virtually completely eliminated from power. They have elected representation but that representation is minority, for practical purposes, banned from legislating or having any say in government in 2014. That’s an apartheid state within the state.

That poison, the toxin of old Dixie is spread throughout the country. No state, not even California, is totally free of it.

What Der Spiegel does not mention is that the party of Abe Lincoln is the party that has inflamed the white tribe against the first African-American president, the agency that has concentrated and focused the belief that it is American white people who have been victimized by the president, that it is they who have been subjected to a systemic racism.

This goes back to the end of the Civil War. The armies of the south were defeated, its territory overrun, its agriculture and trade in ruins. And it engendered a burning resentment, a sense of victimization that could not be erased.

This is well described in this bit from the documentary Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story.

Lincoln was assassinated and Reconstruction slowly failed.

Today, the Republican Party is, whether broadly recognized or not, the party of John Wilkes Booth.

12.04.14

It’s your civic duty…

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 2:08 pm by George Smith

To support Loud Folk Live.

In a country as fucked up and dismaying as the United States in 2014, it is genuinely a record to notice, an antidote to the Culture of Lickspittle.

Now, an anti-thesis, a standard and soul-destroying thing packaged as fun, something to encourage people to do for the good of their employer:

Last week [Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp's] award-winning TEAM ROCK STARS Team Building/Entertainment Program hosted a great group from ESPN/Disney at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip.

The group arrived at 4 p.m. and following an all-star band performance of Queen’s “We will Rock You,” they were surprised to learn that they were going to be broken up into groups to rewrite the lyrics of the infamous song with their own lyrics about their company sales meeting. ESPN’s meeting planner’s commented, “In the past 9 years, this team building program was the most innovative, creative and entertaining. Rock Camp blew us away!” And her division president was all smiles and agreed with her comments. — “The best team building program out there.” — PEOPLE Magazine

“Your dream lives.”

That’s $250 dollars/person for any corporation that wants to see some of its employees rewrite the lyrics to “We Will Rock You” as praise for the business. And then to compel them to sing it on the Sunset Strip at the House of Blues.

Such an exercise is designed to be dignity-destroying.

But this is not and is orders magnitude better! Loud Folk Live tunes — The National Anthem, Rich Man’s Burden, Puta and Jesus of America — at the links.

Five bucks for a digital copy sent to your e-mail — cheap, LOL satirical, catchy, toe-tapping, as well as lots of other wholesome things.


Black People Protection Act

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ted Nugent, WhiteManistan at 10:29 am by George Smith

Seriously.

There’s a really long list of people who need a shit ton of reparations, don’t you think?

Predictably, WhiteManistan’s klassic rock kleagle, horrid’s horrid, explains it’s “a scam:”

Only to these off the cliff denial cultists does “Hands up, don’t shoot” make any sense, even though no one can site [sic -- jesus, there's no limit to the talent] an instance where a black man had his hands up and got shot by a white cop.

In the world of the racist race-baiting industry, no one will ever let facts get in the way of their scam …

And though each and every black life indeed matters to everyone I know, clearly they don’t merit a protest, an inquisition, a grand jury probe or the time of day …

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