Another example from the digital grasping economy, avarice powered by algorithm, personalized again, on WhiteManistan Vacation, one of my satirical bits on YouTube. With rotating Google overlay ads slapped on it because I used 30 seconds of low-resolution tv trailers for the new and old Hawaii Five O programs, the latter which hasn’t been in production for decades with most of its actors long dead.
And in the doing, illustrating how Google, with corporate America, uses its alleged innovation to chisel even the most lowly slivers of value from anyone, anytime, anywhere when they use one of its platforms.
A big 287 views. Do you think they’re getting just the right amount of blood from the stones?
Coincidentally, I’ve taken reader anon’s advice and started using DuckDuckGo.
Note: One cannot entirely escape the grasp and grift of the corporate dictatorship even there.
On a simple search for “Dick Destiny,” a return comes with an embedded ad for my thirty-year old record. Drill down for it on Amazon, another company with which I refuse to do business (for many intelligent reasons described here), and see that two copies are for sale by vendors. One for 22 USD, another for over sixty. The latter is at Play It Again Records in Bethlehem, PA, just a block or two from Lehigh and the first record store I stocked with it back in 1985.
This week’s personalized joke from the digital sharing economy came to me courtesy of Google and Price Waterhouse Cooper.
Years ago I was partially sold hoodwinked into putting Google AdSense into my blog posts at GlobalSecurity.Org. For the sake of revenue sharing.
I started sometime in 2009 and quickly discovered the ads were the Internet’s dog shit, or worse, low level nuclear waste.
At different times they hawked military challenge coins — cheap badges for military men and hanger-ons with less brains than 99 cent cans of minced clams. Ammo boxes. Water storage containers for those convinced the end of civilization was nigh. Fake degrees in intelligence work peddled by schools that exist only as post office boxes in a strip mall. Ads for what appeared to be a prostitution ring specializing in Chinese women. Police training, in 2011. (How to shoot African Americans and the miscellaneous poor, I presume.) Ads for offshoring American manufacturing jobs to the Baja and harmonica lessons.
Nobody in my audience, and I did have one, would click on such things. I came to think, too, that only people with something seriously wrong inside would. And now that’s old news. We’re well into an era of giant, nuisance, multi-media scripting ads that chase you around the web, hog your resources, try to hijack your browsing for the benefit of corporate America, make websites unusable, spy on you, and frequently deliver viruses and extortion software as a bonus.
I stopped paying attention to the Google AdSense account in 2011.
In practice, “revenue sharing” with anything Google means Google gets all the share.
That’s because AdSense, as a model, makes no sense for individual writers. Even if they plaster it all over their pages.
The ads are always woefully inappropriate. The algorithm that chooses them is dumber than dirt. And the click throughput is marginal to non-existent.
Now, if you exist everywhere all over the globe, as Google does, it works. For everyone else, it’s just giving Google free space.
I wouldn’t have actually looked at this closely — in the back of my mind the little voice always said it was a scheme of trash — if the Adsense things hadn’t suddenly stopped running on the SITREP posts.
This was because Google halts them if it decides you need to update your tax information.
When I looked at the problem on my Google dashboard, this is what I discovered.
Google doesn’t pay until a $100 threshold is reached. However, long before that milestone, it will summarily badger you to keep updating your settings with verifications of phone numbers, personal identification numbers and additional tax filing information.
Anyway, in 18 months of SITREP contributions, AdSense had earned me a big $15.00.
At the rate AdSense was making money for me, it’d be a mere seven years before Google cut my first check. Laughable and worthless don’t even begin to encompass it.
This week, in the mail, a letter from Price Waterhouse, commissioned by Google, to service all their AdSense accounts with money in them, cash that is about to go into escheat to the state because it hasn’t been claimed.
PWC informed that Google had accumulated 90 dollars in AdSense revenue. But that the threshold for cutting a check was 100 dollars, which made my original estimate about never being paid almost spot on.
I could have this money, PWC said, if I checked the box on the return letter saying that I was the owner and, in addition, logged into my AdSense account to close it.
How many people do you think recall the passwords and credentials accounts they haven’t used in almost half a decade? How many, do ya think, even have the same computer?
Did you know Google Alphabet has a company named Calico? It’s going to find the cure for old age, cancer and neuro-degenerative diseases. With less senior scientists than you’d find in one of the departments at a big university.
Unintentionally shown, in two minutes on the nightly news.
1. Made in America, in this context meaning generally priced out of reach of the Americans Leo Fender originally aimed his guitars and amps at. Extra points off: Leo Fender is dead and spent his last years working a company, G&L/Music Man, in competition with Fender.
2. Failure to mention the affordable instruments are all made in China and Mexico.
3. Gross misuse of “Born In the USA.”
4. Antagonizing display of gazillionaire classic rock musicians who can buy whatever they and who many people are now mighty sick of seeing all the time.
5. “Handmade,” used as if Americans in custom shops are the only people in the world who can, ahem, hand make stuff.
Colonel Ty Seidule, chair of West Point’s history department, in the above video, explains with some verve and elan, what the Civil War was plainly about.
Good one for him and West Point for allowing the historian’s perspective.
Unfortunately, Seidule and West Point could have made it themselves WITHOUT attachment to “Prager University.”
Prager is not a university at all. In fact, it’s just the video arm of Dennis Prager, another old right wing extremist, perhaps semi-popular in some circles, but still way out on the nasty margins of American society in beliefs even if dressed up in the image of an avuncular old white guy, pretending to be a voice of pure reason through good speaking talent and vocabulary.
Global warming is a hoax, continued. We need more carbon dioxide because it promotes plant growth, like in a greenhouse. Therefore, the world will become more green, this is good, and “we should celebrate C02.”
The wealthy pay too much in income tax. Those in the lower class pay little or none. The wealthy pay too much in payroll taxes in order to support Social Security payments for those who don’t pay nearly enough.
It just goes on and on.
Ty, you made a great video. Firm in a voice of irrefutable truth but civil, elegant and straight-forward.
But you and West Point don’t believe global warming is a hoax, right?
And you don’t believe the the US military won the Vietnam war and it was because of Democrats and hippies that it didn’t come out that way in the final assessment, right?
But here you’ve associated with the extreme right in modern American politics. Yes, there are indeed millions who subscribe to the fucked-up belief system of the modern Republican Party and its handfuls of associated libertarian water-boys.
Their brains are broken.
From any scientific, historic, or social high standard, what they believe, and what is pushed by Prager in its five minute video sermons, is poison. History has and will continue to judge it harshly.
You could’ve issued it directly from West Point and generated some press release to all major media. I bet it would have worked just as well.
“After the final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program was announced in Vienna earlier this month, references to one long-gone politician surged on social media: Neville Chamberlain.
“This is not surprising. The late British prime minister, who presided over the ill-fated Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler in September 1938, is the metaphor of choice for all who prefer confrontation to mediation …
“[When] President Obama had a brief, friendly encounter with Cuban leader Raul Castro on the sidelines of a memorial service for the late South African President Nelson Mandela in 2013, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was less than impressed. ‘Neville Chamberlain shook hands with Hitler,’ the outspoken senator reminded listeners during a radio interview.”
– something from the Washington Post (no link)
Angling for a techno-thriller book contract
“Flash to 2015: Secretary of State John Kerry negotiates Iran’s nuclear bomb aspirations. Ayatollah Khameini celebrates the deal as Iran’s most important victory since deposing the Shah. Khomeini’s revolution has finally succeeded.
“Flash to 2017: We now comprehend how Kerry’s deal was another Neville Chamberlain-like capitulation to a clear and present danger …
“The converging Obama/post-Obama presidencies were clueless; international progressive policies collapsed unceremoniously into the dust bin of history. Quickly, other Middle-Eastern states “acquired” nuclear capability. Israel defended itself as best it could; the U.S. was forced to defend Israel. Europe and Asia chose sides; WWIII had begun. Khomeini’s triumphant Islamic revolution marshaled on under the cover of Shiite terrorist hegemonies and cozy military-oil arrangements forged with Russia, China and North Korea.
“Regrettably, the KKK of WWIII, Ayatollahs Khomeini, Khameini, and the Kerry deal, had unleashed a destruction not seen since the days of Hitler and Hiroshima. The 55 million dead of WWII would seem a pittance compared to total, world-wide nuclear holocaust.”
“President Obama and now five members of the Supreme Court have set themselves above God by declaring same-gender marriage as a civil right. Fortunately, one of the branches of government, Congress, has not done so — at least not yet.
“In the beginning of man, God ordained that marriage was a sacred covenant between a man and a woman. Jesus confirmed that.
“I believe the United States of America is going to face a devastating judgment. Some say it will be a catastrophic stock market crash on September 30, 2015. I believe it will be an electromagnetic pulse attack from Iran.”
Dealing with WhiteManistan is a test of endurance. In the end, one that you’ll always lose.
A substantial part of white America is out of its mind in rage, fear and racism. And there’s no way to fix it.
Over the weekend one of pro-wrestling’s greatest heels, Roddy Piper, died at 61. His obituary is here.
“Mr. Piper also had a brief acting career, starring in the 1988 film They Live, directed by John Carpenter, about a man who discovers, with the help of magic sunglasses, that the world is secretly ruled by aliens,” reads the Times obit.
It’ a bit dry, doing “Mr. Piper” and They Live some amount of disservice.
Carpenter’s They Live is the most prescient of movies on life in the American corporate dictatorship. Disguised as science-fiction.
Piper plays a semi-employed drifter named John Nada in a hot, dusty and bleak Los Angeles. He stumbles upon a pair of odd sunglasses, just like older people wear to reduce glare, and finds they turn the world gray. But they also reveal the ruling class, media personalities on tv, and bankers to be aliens who’ve infiltrated the country and taken over.
All for the sake of looting. Also revealed are subliminal messages embedded in every sign and print surface.
The aliens have given the local oppressive police force little round aerial drones to spy on the populace, too! And, naturally, they’ve recruited the most amenable among the human herd to have a piece of the grift, too, as their well-compensated assistants in the creation of the movie’s vision of a predatory and poisoned concrete and asphalt Eden of capitalism where people have only the freedom to shop, languish and be indentured servants/sleepwalkers.
Wearing the sunglasses for too long gives Piper a blinding headache. Just like life in our rigged capitalist paradise. It was a nice touch.
They Live also has what feels like (if it isn’t) the longest fight scene in movie history, ever. Waged between Piper and Keith David in a Hollywood back alley lot you’ve seen in hundreds of movies, Piper as Nada discovers a box of the sunglasses and wants the David character, Frank Armitage, to try a pair on, to see the aliens.
Armitage refuses. It’s been another horrible day on the construction site and he just wants to give the lunatic wanted by the police, Nada, his last paycheck and get home.
The fight rolls on and on, the two men beating each other to swollen-faced black-and-blue pulps. And, surprisingly, it’s never boring.
In my homemade video for “Rumble,” made a few years back, I excerpted some of the scene at the garage tune’s climax. It begins at about one minute in.
Piper made his primary rep, certainly, as a pro wrestler, where I came to regularly know him in the Saturday tv slots for the bottom-out-of-sight crowd that advertisers shunned.
But which were adored by many young people, including me. And in future years that fan base and attraction would turn pro wrestling into huge money. But by 1988, the time of They Live, it still hadn’t quite arrived although pro-wrestling admiration was widespread in Pennsy’s Lehigh Valley.
“[John] Carpenter called Mr. Piper ‘an underrated actor,’” continued the Times.
That he was. In the long run, Piper’s legacy is as much a result of that one movie as his turn as star of pro-wrestling.
By now it should be patently obvious that the FBI, as well as British national security, are well into operations and investigations on the Dark Web.
In the latest news, Mohammed Ammer Ali has been convicted of buying what he thought to be five vials of ricin from an FBI special agent named “Peter” who was fronting a sting operation aimed at netting people who were trying to by poisons on the Internet.
On the evening of Tuesday 10 February this year, Mohammed Ammer Ali sat down in his computer room to write his daily to-do list. Alongside a reminder to pay the car insurance were the aide memoires: “Get pet to murder” and “Paid ricin guy”.
What Ali was not to know, however, was that the seller he knew as “DarkMart” and “Psychochem” was an undercover FBI agent. And the powder concealed in the children’s toy car was not ricin – it was a harmless substance planted by detectives from the UK’s north-west counter-terrorism unit, who were watching his every move.
At 8am the following morning, a dozen police officers dressed from head to toe in protective clothing burst through the front door of the family’s modest flat above the Salt & Pepper restaurant in inner-city Liverpool, arresting a partially-naked Ali.
A series of raids were carried out simultaneously at other addresses across Merseyside. Acting on an FBI tipoff, counter-terror officers moved quickly to thwart what could have been a major bioterrorism case with parallels to the Wood Green ricin plot in 2002.
There was one problem: detectives could find no suggestion that Ali was involved in any terrorism plot.
A quiet family man from Bolton, Ali had worked for his parents’ newsagents business until he got a job as a software programmer for a local company shortly before his arrest. He was computer mad and excelled at school. Following psychological assessments after his arrest, he was diagnosed with showing personality traits associated with Asperger syndrome.
On the stand, Ali indicated he bought the material on the Dark Web to find out “what all the fuss was about.”
If absolutely true, it was a dreadful class.
Ali also said he had been inspired by the television show Breaking Bad. This adds to the already odd feature of the hit cable show that starred Brian Cranston: The only TV show in history to have inspired a handful of people in the US and the UK convicted on ricin charges.
It includes a picture of Ali with a glowing nose, the result of a substance planted in the toy car containing the vials of harmless powder sent to him by British counter-terrorism forces, the purpose of which was to prove he had opened and handled it.
Ali, reports said, will undergo further psychiatric evaluation before sentencing.
“Directed energy brings the dawn of an entirely new era in defense,” Lieutenant General William Etter, Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, told a conference hosted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment.
The military has been working on such weapons for decades, but says many technology challenges have finally been addressed.
Of course, this is not correct. The military application of lasers has been stunted by power requirements and almost total lack of effectiveness in what my be called — the real world.
I’ll get to this in a minute.
Continuing from the Reuters piece:
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the conference the Navy was encouraged by testing of a laser deployed on the USS Ponce in the Gulf, which can destroy small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and can also be used as a telescope.
Mabus said the Navy was extending deployment of the laser on the Ponce, and using lessons learned to help produce a 100-150 kilowatt laser prototype for testing at sea in 2018 or sooner.
If you watch the video you’ll see the nonsensical pitch by the BAE Systems salesman.
The Navy’s main problem are the power handling, generation and storage requirements as well as the hazard.
The rail gun is theoretically to be fitted to the Navy’s largest ships, one example being the Zumwalt destroyer, a program that was halted at three ships.
The rail gun, if published news is correct, requires at least half the power-generating capacity of such a ship when it’s under way. In addition, no one likes to talk about the ship-board hazard posed by the charging and discharge of such large power systems during repeating fire.
Conservatively, it will kill people. On board. And then break down.
Theoretically, charging capacitors as large as a house. Oy.
“Pentagon funding for directed energy programs would remain steady at about $300 million a year for now,” reads Reuters.
By contrast, the NRA generates around $300 million/year from its membership. So maybe the military really isn’t that serious about the programs, after all.
But, said Secretary of the Navy Mabus, who will want a job in high management at a US manufacturer of these things when he leaves his position: “[He] said Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners, and the U.S. military needed to accelerate often cumbersome acquisition processes to ensure that it stayed ahead of potential foes.”
Major General Jerry Harris, vice commander of Air Combat Command, said the Air Force had developed a high-power microwave weapon that could disperse crowds without killing people by rapidly raising body temperature, and the system could be put to use immediately on drones or other aircraft.
The Sheriff was deployed to Afghanistan and was brought back without firing a shot because, essentially, it doesn’t adapt well when people can shoot back. Plus, public relations problems related to the potential for atrocities, torture, ruined careers, things like that.
They say he’s trashing the Republic brand. They say he’s “stirring up the crazies,” in the words of Senator John McCain. But Trump is the brand, to a sizable degree. And the crazies have long flourished in the Republican media wing, where any amount of gaseous buffoonery goes unchallenged.
And now that the party can’t control him, Trump threatens to destroy its chances if he doesn’t get his way, running as an independent with unlimited wealth — a political suicide bomb.
Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.
And for years, GOP pols have been proud to also be associated with the classic rock kleagle, Ted Nugent, the only celebrity musician I know that’s ever been investigated by the US Secret Service.
Nugent is the boiled-down essence of the angry extreme right-wing extremist, a nativist and public bigot who regularly puts down everyone unlike him, but reserving his fury primarily for the president, African Americans living in cities and the need to destroy the US government, which he calls Fedzilla. His enemies are all subhuman, bloodsucking punks and Chicago is “Chiraq,” downtown south Los Angeles a place that ought to be machine-gunned from a helicopter.
Ban all gun-free slaughter zones. Ban freedom-haters from public office by supporting and voting for those candidates who support freedom and common sense while punishing those who want to put their boots on the throat of freedom and common sense.
A week earlier he devoted his column to describing what a potential GOP president must be prepared to do:
Only those on dope fail to recognize how foolish those on dope look, sound, smell and act like braindead dopey morons.
The trick is to not be a braindead moron and stay off dope.
The only sheep dishonest enough to vote Democrat are the dopey sheep benefiting from the redistribution scam artists, thereby enslaving the sheep to further engineered dependency …
Job 1: Annihilate anybody and everybody who publicly declares hate or danger to America, Americans or our allies. Unleash the greatest military might upon them with a fury that is inescapable. No more playing “containment” games. Wipe them out.
Next, end the scourge of bribing Americans and illegal invaders to be bloodsucking, nonproductive leaches [sic] riding on the backs of hardworking, sacrificing American families.
Secure the borders for God’s sake, and for the sake of a safe, excellent American America. Invaders must return home or face painful, extremely uncomfortable punishing jail time. Legal good, illegal bad. Know it, enforce it.
American America! The week before Nugent recommended Trump be given the Medal of Freedom, effectively endorsing him for President.
Like Trump, Ted Nugent is the Republican brand. He has been for years.
And if you’re curious as to what Ted Nugent looks like when his summer tour season is canceled, click here.