06.30.09

The Daily Dishwater on Cybersecurity

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 10:08 am by George Smith

You can’t get away from it even when you try. There’s no running away from corporate pundits and their obsessions with cyberwar and cybersecurity.

They all copy from the same script, comprising an army of really concerned swell people marching in lockstep, repeating the same things over and over, all selflessly warning the nation, readers, politicians, anyone who will listen, about the dangers. Watch out for China! Russia, too! Estonia was defeated in the first cyberwar!

“The risks are real,” writes someone named L. Gordon Crovitz at the Wall Street Journal.

“Why has no one ever told us this?” I hear you ask. Well, no, if you’re reading this post DD knows you’re not asking.

“Cyber attacks on Estonia and Georgia by Russia in recent years forced government, banking, media and other Web sites offline,” Crovitz continued. “In the U.S., the public Web, air-traffic control systems and telecommunications services have all been attacked. Congressional offices have been told that China has broken into their computers. Both China and Russia were caught having infiltrated the U.S. electric-power grid, leaving behind software code to be used to disrupt the system. The risk of attacks to create massive power outages is so serious that the best option could be unplugging the U.S. power grid from the Internet.”

The only thing missing is the stuff about cyberwar maybe being as bad for the nation as limited nuclear war. But that was covered yesterday, anyway.

“If cyber war is a new form of war, wouldn’t most Americans adjust their expectations of reasonable privacy to permit the Pentagon to intrude to some degree on their communications, if this is necessary to prevent great harm and if rules protecting anonymity can be established?” it is asked.

Make the Pentagon the nexus through which all American fun and business on the Internet is conducted. That’d be great! Can’t see why anyone would argue with that.

“We’ll look back on the current era, with the military constrained from defending vital domestic interests … ”

Roll the Lockheed Martin commercial.

“We’ve detected an anomaly. Our nation is under attack. How bad is it? Traffic’s off the chart! They’re pinging more targets! Isolate, prevent damage! Got ’em!” [Noble and uplifting music swells in background]

Predator State Advertising

Posted in Cyberterrorism, Predator State at 7:47 am by George Smith

“We’ve detected an anomaly. Our nation is under attack.”

So goes a recent Lockheed Martin ad aimed at invading the taxpayer wallet over cybersecurity.

With production values straight from a summer blockbuster movie trailer, Lockheed Martin probably spent more on it than most Americans will get in value from their healthcare plans this year.

“We never forget who we’re working for,” the ad informs.

Your host saw it at lunchtime yesterday, run on CNN back to back with another ad from CPRights.Org on how, if the Obama administration gets its way, you’ll be denied healthcare by government bureaucrats. Like how DD could never get a scaly and disfiguring disease on his hands fixed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the costs from the doctor …

That nation that knows its priorities can’t help but always be the world’s leader.

“Yes!” to the largest defense contractor in the world protecting us from anomalies in cyberspace!

“No!” to any healthcare plan offered by the government.


Related: The Daily Dishwater on Cybersecurity

Yet another Lockheed Martin ad on cybersecurity, too long for TV. The star of the show — LM’s talking head, is preventing foreign countries and individuals from harming us — one virus, one worm, one stealthy cyber-weapon, at a time.

06.29.09

Not Soiling Yourself Over an EMP Attack? You must’ve voted for Obama

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 3:08 pm by George Smith

“Brief analysis shows that our computerized, electronically-dependent society offers any rogue nation a perfect target: an EMP-vulnerable power grid susceptible of a sucker punch to the heart of our infrastructure,” writes a columnist at the star journal for right-wing crackpots, Human Events.

The electromagnetic pulse attack lobby is now exclusively the property of the GOP. It’s a dumping ground for a rich a variety of Republican crazies, a constituency which DD mapped for many years. Like those who believe global warming to be a hoax, the Republican right has electromagnetic pulse fear all locked up.

If one thinks about this paradox, it has a neatly confounding internal anti-logic.

If something is backed up by hard science and poses a real danger for everyone on the planet, the Republican party denies its existence. If, however, the threat is something rather abstract to almost all Americans, rests almost entirely on theoretical prediction, is something not likely to ever occur at all, and then only in the context of what would promise to be an all out nuclear war, the GOP believes in it very strongly.

To paraphrase Paul Krugman characterizing GOP attitudes towards global warming: You could call this crazy conspiracy theory, but doing so would actually be unfair to crazy conspiracy theorists.

“The nightmare scenario of [EMP attack] is this: A rogue nation like North Korea or a stateless terrorist like Bin Laden gets hold of a nuclear weapon and decides not to drive it into a large city but rather to launch it on a Scud-type missile straight into the atmosphere from a barge off the East Coast,” wrote one brilliant theoretician at Slate a couple years ago.

“In fact, [a congressionally chartered commission] discovered that knowledge about EMP is widespread in such places as: China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia,” wrote defense hawk and EMP crazy Frank Gaffney for the Washington Times, also a couple of years ago.

“Several of these nations, and perhaps terrorists that they sponsor, could launch a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from a ship – the sort of attack that poses an especially grave threat to the United States.”

You see, EMP crazy theory has always been immortal Fortress American paranoid voodoo, crap — in other words, a threat which can be glued on anyone: teen hackers, Russia, Cuba, China, North Korea, Iran, al Qaeda, plus miscellaneous other suspects and a half dozen enemies we have yet to find and publicly vilify, like maybe you.

“There is reason to believe the Iranian regime is working toward [an EMP] capability that could destroy America as we know it,” wrote Gaffney in the same opinion piece. He was citing an old GOP stalwart and infamous kook, now run out of Congress and mostly forgotten, Curt Weldon from southeast Pennsylvania.

“In an instant, the world’s superpower could become a candle-powered 19th-century museum,” insisted the brilliant theoretician at Slate in 2006.

So just in case cyberwar hasn’t returned America to the Seventies, there is always electromagnetic pulse terror waiting in the wings to send us back even further, to the time of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

“One to three missiles tipped with nuclear weapons and armed to detonate at a high altitude — to achieve the strongest EMP over the greatest area of the United States — would create an EMP ‘overlay’ that triggers a continent-wide collapse of our entire electrical, transportation, and communications infrastructure … Within weeks after such an attack, tens of millions of Americans would perish … We most likely would never recover from the blow,” wrote famous Newt Gingrich, also a card-carrying electromagnetic pulse attack crazy, in March, here.

“The incentive to attack America through EMP is high because the cost to America would be catastrophic,” confirms Kathryn Gaines at Human Events.

“If America were hit with an EMP over the course of one year 90% of Americans would be dead. America would be reduced to third world status,” she adds.

Quite naturally, it is now the Democratic administration’s fault that not enough has been done to defend against electromagnetic attack.

“The current administration is failing to imagine, and so resists planning for an EMP attack,” concludes Gaines. “The government is failing in its primary task of protecting the citizens.”

Not Soiling Yourself Over Cyberwar? Your brain is A-OK

Posted in Cyberterrorism, Extremism, War On Terror at 2:01 pm by George Smith

The daily dishwater on cyberwar, this time from the Times of London. “If you’re not worried, you have not been paying attention,” warns the writer.

“[Cyberwar] would be like being teleported back to the 1970s,” it is said. “Even a minor conflict could slow the global Internet to a crawl. So cyber-war is a bit like nuclear war, in that even a minor outbreak threatens everyone’s life and welfare.”

Is your life threatened when you cannot log on to Twitter? Well, OK, that’s a trick question. We already know that the upper class swells on CNN and in newspaper features sections wouldn’t be able to go on with life.

OK, ok, but you’d quickly starve during an all out cyberwar. That’s for sure. The local supermarket with all the fancy signs wouldn’t sell you food and it certainly wouldn’t give you a dollar off on all those things when you punch in your telephone number. And I bet your cable digital TV and phone wouldn’t work either, just like in that movie where Bruce Willis as John McClane battles the annoying cyberterrorist who used to work for the Pentagon.

That was a good movie. The annoying cyberterrorist had a really hot chick who could kickbox as his henchwoman.

Anyway, cyberwar will be so bad you’ll have to find your own corner market, one not connected to the Internet, for your fortified wines.

So, what to do when the nuclear apocalypsecyberwar begins?

Cyber-carpet-bombing is the correct response, DD reported this weekend.

“[One expert] recounts what one of the staff told him about how NATO would react to a [new] cyber-strike,” reports the Times. “Overwhelming response: a single, gigantic counterstrike that cripples the target and warns anyone else off launching a future cyber-war. He isn’t sure what it would look like, but the show of force he envisages is so severe that the only thing he can compare it to is a nuclear attack.”


Just for amusement, DD has hit the Wayback Machine and retrieved similar quotes from 2001, when another excitable fellow — an alleged cyberwar expert by the name of James Adams — was often in the news about total cyberwar.

“Y2K will illustrate what an attack could do… Anybody who says after January 1, 2000 that this [threat of cyber attack] is all just made up I think is an idiot.” From the University of Southern California’s Networker magazine, winter 98-99.

Pentagon hackers employed in Eligible Receiver “did more than the massed might of Saddam Hussein’s armies, than the Nazis in the Second World War.” — from Techweek, 1999.

“”One need only look at today’s headlines to recognize industry’s need for iDefense … iDefense draws upon an unparalleled understanding of the critical infrastructure and a keen awareness of the growing threats and vulnerabilities confronting industry to provide its clients a timely and truly unique service.” — from the PR Newswire, June 1999.

“Which brings us to the final rung on the escalatory ladder: the virtual equivalent of nuclear deployment. I offer as illustration Eligible Receiver.” From a speech, “The Future of War,” delivered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, June 2000.

“Consider the recent LoveLetter virus … The effect? The equivalent of a modest
war … No terrorist organization in history has ever achieved such damage with a single attack. Few small wars cost so much … The LoveLetter attack was indeed the first real taste of terrible things to come.” Also from “The Future of War.”

“Estimates of the cost of [the LoveLetter virus] to the United States range from $4 billion to $15 billion — or the equivalent, in conventional war terms, of the carpet-bombing of a small American city.” From Foreign Affairs magazine, May-June 2001.

06.26.09

Rule Number One: Always blame China, then Russia

Posted in Cyberterrorism, War On Terror at 4:53 pm by George Smith

Today, a collection of items again having to do with the tradition of blaming China and its mighty but hard-to-see cyberwarriors.

For example, when you want to build a cyber-attack force, blame the Chinese for starting a cyber-arms race, hacking into US utility companies, cyber-spying and installing backdoors and hidden boobytrap software switches in everything.

Since it’s a practice that has been carried out so well and for so long, the Chinese media has finally started to wise up to it.

So, this year, for the first time, DD has begun to field questions from Chinese journalists, who are returning the favors long administered by their counterparts in the western English-speaking newsmedia. That is, instead of wanting to talk about how China is menacing US cyber-interests, they want to know about the US menacing the rest of the world’s cyber-interests.

From a Q&A — in e-mail — this week:

Chinese journalist: Will US wage cyber warfare against its enemies?

DD: I doubt there will be any significant happenings of this nature. Too much potential for an exposure resulting in great embarrassment and bad publicity if caught doing such a thing. It wouldn’t look good if the US military was caught installing a worldwide zombie botnet now, would it?

Chinese journalist: US cyber security may provoke the new world arms race on the new military frontier, do you think so?

DD: The rhetoric on the subject may inspire something like this. However, it will be offset by the limited nature of what such things can accomplish in the real world.

Chinese journalist: What do you think of the cyberattacks worldwide?

DD: It’s another day, just like many, for IT staffs.

Chinese journalist: Will the American aggressive approach to cyber-security pose a threat to privacy and civil liberties?

DD: There is already some concern about this. As to privacy, there have been agencies and parties in the US which have been involved in pushing back on encroachments and violations of privacy in cyberspace for many years. They’ve had some mixed successes and some big failures, so it’s an ongoing battle.


Next up, a partial transcript from the Ian Masters show, a couple weeks ago. DD has edited it down to the most interesting points, and the common worked-to-death scripts re China and cyberwar.

Ian Masters, Pacifica radio host: There’s [now] an expectation hacker soldiers will be hired. The New York Times has a piece on Sunday on the frontpage, a rather skeptical piece, suggesting that this indeed may be another raid on the treasury by the military industrial complex.

DD (aka George Smith): Well, that’s been a constant. I mean, it’s not exclusive to the Obama administration. Cyberwarfare and cybersecurity have been used by the US government over the past fifteen years to, as you say, rattle the tin cup for a variety of reasons. I mean, it’s kind of like, what many people don’t realize is that the extremist views are in charge, OK? [Laughs] There really isn’t a voice of moderation. And there really never has been in the area.

IM: So, in other words, the sky’s always falling.

GS: That’s right.

IM: And the Russians are coming.

GS: Or the Chinese. The Chinese were coming ten years ago. And they’re coming again.

IM: And the terrorists are coming.

IM: In terms of cyberwarfare al Qaeda is not a player?

GS: No, they’re not a player.

IM: They do low-tech video releases. So who is the target of this new initiative by President Obama, is it Russia and China?

GS: Those are the common two. Ten years ago there were a large number of stories circulated insisting China, the dragon, was about to show its claws and fire, and it had developed a cyberwarfare capability, and in the most extreme cases could attack the United States’ oil refineries and cause explosions, war from remote, things like that. And with Barack Obama, on Friday, he includes in his speech a statement that cities in foreign countries have been blacked out by cyberattack, and that’s simply an urban legend. There’s nothing to back that up at all yet it finds its way into his cyber policy review report.

Now, why is that? [Laughs]

If you look at the footnotes of the report real carefully, this comes out of an old press release from a computer security company.

IM: So ginning up business?

GS: Well, specifically, this occured about a year ago. It was to gin up business for protection of remote control access systems. What better way to do it than to say the CIA had told [your expert business] that cities which cannot be named, in countries that cannot be named, had power companies attacked which cannot be named, causing blackouts in cities, the number of which cannot be named.

IM: Really?

GS: Yeah, well that’s it …

IM: Where is the beef then, as they once said in a political campaign? We’ve got a lot of sizzle — but there’s no steak here?

GS: Well, the real beef is that there isn’t any doubting that there are problems with cybersecurity. We’re now built on a system that’s fundamentally insecure … and when you choose to use the Internet … to build your networks upon [it], then you’re choosing to work with an insecure system and the daily problems that come with that are part of the overhead of doing business and conducting life like that. And that’s a complete separate set of issues which everyone must deal with on a daily basis.

Ah, have you had an experience with removing malware, viruses or spyware from your computer?

IM: Well now, at the risk of advertising for Apple, I have a Mac.

GS: [Laughs] Well, good for you!

IM: So everyone is attuned to these things and paying the price.

GS: And everyone has to deal with it daily and take measures or suffer the consequences … Bad actors on the Internet are not known for restraint, OK? If there was an ability to turn the United States off like a switch, it would have been done already, I think. They wouldn’t show the qualms of, perhaps, a foreign country whose leaders would say: “Maybe we shouldn’t do this.”

Someone would just say: “No, we’re going to do it because I want to be famous and show the world how powerful I am.” Which is one of common motivations, among many, in people who do these kinds of things on the Internet, who are constantly knocking on your firewall door …


CNN’s Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, was puzzled: “This term cyber warfare sounds kind of, you know — amorphous, kind of hard to get your hands around it…” (See here for the next excerpt’s original publication.)

Fifteen minutes later, Gordon Chang, author of an unintentionally hilariously entitled book called The Coming Collapse of China vaguely informed the news network, “Well, they say that two [instances] of those were really the Chinese caused blackouts in the United States, one in 2003 and the other…”

For Chang, “they” were a couple of chatterers from the press, more specifically, an article in the National Journal, a publication nobody but Congressional staffers and producers and editors of news organizations in Washington, DC, reads.

“We’ve always knows that our civilian networks, which are not protected as well as the defense ones, can be taken down, but we never really had a demonstration that it could, indeed, actually happen until a couple of years ago,” continued Chang.

The news story demonstrated one common feature of all stories on cyberwar. You can say anything you wish and not suffer a beatdown. The most remarkable, even ludicrous, things can be claimed. Once on paper, it’s fair to discuss such things as if they had the reality of a piece of granite.

Since the Chinese had been causing blackouts, Chang reasoned the US government ought to show some backbone and give them a talking to …

To spend too much time arguing details [over this] is to be drawn into the deranged world of the American way of threat description … What would the United States do [then] in retaliation? Start carpet-bombing? Carpet-bombing, in this case, means having a force of cybermen and their own vast military botnet to launch DDOS attacks.

In “Carpet-bombing in Cyberspace,” an article from the Armed Forces Journal, Col. Charles W. Williamson III writes “America needs the ability to carpet bomb in cyberspace to create the deterrent we lack.”

There is a carpet-bombing gap in cyberspace, it is said. “We are in [a new arms race] and we are losing,” asserts Williamson. China has the greatest capability for cyber carpet-bombing because “analysts think China has the world’s largest denial-of-service capability.”

The US can offset this by investing in its own military botnet, sort of like not allowing the Russkis to take the lead in mineshaft digging in Dr. Strangelove.


In slightly different form, at SITREP.


Update: The daily dose of cyberwar exaggeration. Cyberwar will throw everyone back to the Seventies. Except you won’t get to be young again.

06.23.09

Cyberwar menace causing insomnia? Sadly, no

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 8:53 am by George Smith

“Military leaders now routinely warn that the Pentagon’s computer networks are attacked daily,” reported the Omaha World Herald newspaper a few days ago.

Omaha is home of Offutt AFB, home to StratCom, which has some skin in the game of military perimeter cyberdefense.

“The U.S. Strategic Command is awaiting a military review that eventually might diminish its role as the military’s go-to group for waging war in cyberspace,” fretted the newspaper.

Well, it won’t be that bad, DD told the reporter. Things will continue pretty much as usual, the US military using a hodgepodge of agencies, arms and resources to keep doing what it’s been doing in the area for the last fifteen years. Whether or not an organizational chart is rewritten and personnel and facilities switched around won’t really matter in the long run.

“Rival governments are suspected of being involved in cyber attacks and cyber espionage that not long ago would have been relegated to the science-fiction rack,” continued the article.

“A Chinese computer system dubbed GhostNet recently infiltrated at least 1,300 computers in the United States and more than 100 other countries, allegedly to steal information about the Dalai Lama.”

Ooh!

“Russians are suspected of attacking some of Georgia’s computer systems before the Russian military bombed that country last August.”

Aaaah! The Russians are coming! So are the Chinee!

“Most cyber defense isn’t sexy, [George Smith] said. It’s the day-to-day drudgery of protecting computer networks from things like data theft and computer viruses.

But the bigger threats from foreign governments scare military, industry and academic experts, said Mustaque Ahamad, director of Georgia Tech’s Information Security Center.

” ‘This is keeping a lot of people awake at night,’ he said.”

No, not if they’re sane.

But it’s worth noting the dire claim is just from the exact source one would expect, someone who’s livelihood is integrally entwined with getting others to believe the potential of cyberwar merits some fear, trembling and night sweats. Such claims have fallen like pigeon droppings in the city for the last fifteen years.

They’re common, unremarkable, numbing and well beyond stupid.

“No matter what happens with the cyber mission, StratCom’s future in Omaha still shines bright,” the Omaha Herald article finished. “The command expects to receive 600 more personnel in the next few years to complete its cyber mission …”


The standard example of weekly, sometimes daily, dishwater on cyberwar, piece furnished by Evgeny Morozov writing for Newsweek.

Information is classified! But facts were “eye-opening” and “clear,” a cliche (or cliches) published when things are actually the opposite.

Among the targets were two of Estonia’s biggest banks, whose online systems were severely degraded for several hours. The scale of the economic damage is still classified as a state secret, but the fact that this happened in “E-stonia,” a proud digital society (Oh, puh-leeze!), where even parking meters take payment via text messages, was eye-opening. Although the decentralized nature of cyberattacks made it hard to know whether the Kremlin ordered the attacks, clues led Estonia to a Russian suspect, whom the Kremlin refused to extradite.

One thing is clear: Russia gained from what may be the first successful invasion in the new age of cyberwar. Hillar Aarelaid, a manager at Estonia’s computer emergency response team, who coordinated Estonia’s defenses during the assault, told me that the attack used a nasty weapon called a “distributed denial of service” or DDOS…


See here, for comedy. Or here and here. Here, too.






“It will be the acme of skill to defeat the prideful military of the Americans through the righteous uniting fists of stealthy digitized roaming mobile code.”

— People’s Liberation Army military theorist Fu Man Tzu in “Cyber-Wars Like Grains of Sand,” translated by China scholar, Hue Pflong Pu, Center for Strategic and International Studies.


06.18.09

US Average IQ Down 20 Percent

Posted in Phlogiston, Stumble and Fail at 2:23 pm by George Smith

Indirectly proven by science in this piece from the New York Times.

It’s about the summer swimming seaon and diarrheal illness.

DD managed a swimming pool for four years in his undergrad days. At this time, admittedly many many years ago, the Pine Grove Community Swimming Pool was not a vector for disease. Checks for fecal coliforms, which would not detect cryptosporidiosis — not an observable problem in the Seventies, were regularly performed.

Because of a rise in cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic illness, health experts now feel compelled to issue advice which seemed obvious thirty years ago.

“In addition to not swimming while ill with diarrhea, health experts say people should shower before swimming and never use the pool as a toilet,” reports the Times.

Yes, defecating in the swimming pool is crass and bad. Also obvious and sickening.

There is no stealthy shitting in a busy public swimming pool, unlike sneaking the other thing, which everyone does. DD did not realize that Americans now had to be warned not to do the former.

“Parents should wash young children before they enter the pool and take them on frequent bathroom breaks. Children in diapers require vigilant attention.”

Yes, people, give your lifeguards a break this summer! They’re only making minimum wage.

06.17.09

Stumble and Fail

Posted in Predator State, Stumble and Fail at 2:13 pm by George Smith

DD figures 99 percent of the country is still in denial about what’s here, or most certainly coming, for the majority. And this is probably because no one can get their heads around what approximately half a million being fired a month for a year or two will mean for the country.

In the last few months, for example, DD has seen virtually EVERYONE he once knew well in the Lehigh Valley fifteen years ago lose their jobs.

And here in Pasadena, the signs of collapse are everywhere when you care to look: Abandoned car dealerships on Colorado, zombie banks at the intersection of Lake and Colorado, the destruction of the Pasadena Coffee Company — a business which had been a comfortable landmark on Sierra Bonita for sixteen years, at least; abandoned and blighted apartment buildings on the south side of the freeway, cordoned off with fencing and tarpaulins so passers-by are hindered from seeing how bad they really look (the block I have in mind appears irredeemable), a next door neighbor with two SUV’s, now quietly reduced to saying he ‘works from home,’ a continuous trudge of scavengers from the west side of the city to the east, climbing through dumpsters (you can hear them checking the bin fifty yards from where I’m typing this every five hours or so).

What’s the answer?

Old-timey America and the down ‘n’ out had it. They knew.

Voila!

Most people think Pasadena is very upscale, a place where it’s hard to find bum wine.

Not true!

In at least one spot, made up of two small markets at the intersection of North Wilson and Villa, Thunderbird and Night Train Express are in stock.

These beverages served and serve a purpose. They’re for when you’ve really hit the skids. And because they are fortified with about 18 percent alcohol by volume, they’re bona fide painkillers.

Yes, it’s been a very bad year here in Pasadena and it looks to only get worse. So if it’s like that where you live, I’m giving you a consumer head’s up because at some point, maybe soon, you’re going to want a lot more for a lot less than that frou-frou bottle of chardonnay furnishes, no matter how bad the solution tastes. You’re going to want to take advantage of one of the more lasting things this country still makes. And that corporate America hasn’t, and presumably can’t, outsource to China for contamination and adulteration.

You are, in short, going to want to acquaint yourself with a knock-out shot for enduring disaster. You’ll need something after ‘national health care reform’ goes through and instead of achieving universal coverage, we’re all dunned by health insurance companies who’ve been given the power to empty the pockets of those they’ll deny coverage to, anyway. Almost like usual, only even worse. You’ll want these drinks after the tenth employer has turned you down for a minimum wage job because they insisted on running a credit check and your score is a hash because you’ve been unemployed and in areers for so long.

You bum! Someone should put you in jail soon!

But back to the consumer report.

Calling Thunderbird a wine is — well … wrong. It’s light yellow and has a medicinal taint, many acrid notes and a potentially headache-provoking (depending on the individual’s hardiness) sweetish primary taste/odor. Three quarters of the way through a bottle left DD’s eyes burning, my eyelids drooping. The next morning, there was dull lower back pain, right in the kidneys. There was no severe hangover, but two bottles would be more than enough to ensure an unpleasant and perhaps very dangerous misadventure.

You should call it a night after your first bottle of Thunderbird. If you’re establishing a habit, carve out that baseline and stick to it.

Night Train Express was, however, my favorite of the two. It is recommended to be served very cold.

Night Train actually looks like wine although it, too, immediately impresses one with its medicinal smell and off but very sweet flavor. DD put a bottle in the freezer and after about two hours it had turned almost completely to red ice. Since there is so much sugar in Night Train, it thaws quickly under a stream from the faucet. Don’t thaw it entirely. Leave it in a reddish slurry and then pour. The slurry will disappear in your glass leaving it very cold, indeed.

The colder the serving, the more the consumer is insulated from the poorer qualities in the flavor of Night Train.

When a bottle of Night Train is had in this manner, its taste is tolerable and you’ll probably be able (or be urged) to drink it much faster than you should. Fight that urge. Take an hour and a half for that bottle. Stay in your apartment or house, if you still have the latter. And go to bed.

The Night Train morning after is fairly eventless, except for a desire to drink a lot of water. The alcohol content in bottles of it and Thunderbird guarantee your metabolism gets dried out pretty good.

The experience did awaken some old engraved muscle memory. Back in the good ol’ Eighties, the early days of grad school, DD spent Friday nights in Pine Grove, listening to new records at a friend’s home on Wideawake Street. He always had something like Night Train, sometimes T. J. Swan, or combinations of these and Black Velvet or Seagram’s Seven. The morning’s after tended to be much worse, though.

Cisco was also on sale at the same corner of Pasadena. However, the colors and advertised flavors just weren’t appealing to DD.


If you’re near the intersection of Wilson and Villa in Pasadena, you can find the small 375 and and full 750 ml bottles of Night Train and T-Bird. Cisco is furnished in only the smaller volume. Personally, if cruising by, go to the market with no obvious name. You can recognize it by the LA Times newspaper vending machine on the sidewalk, Times’ employees being now among the most needy for the effect of strong bum wines. Even though they haven’t yet admitted this to themselves.

Although Bumwine.com sometimes advises starting with the smaller bottle, DD has done the testing and can tell readers — that’s pointless! Don’t buy the half tank of gas and wish you’d had a fill up half an hour later! The half measure is not what you want; always go for the standard serving as not only do you get much more, you also save at least a dollar and some change/volume with both brands.

06.14.09

Your host — on the radio

Posted in Bioterrorism, Cyberterrorism, War On Terror at 9:18 am by George Smith

An audio file of DD on the radio for Ian Masters’ Background Briefing show on FM radio is here.

There is also a stream and iPod broadcast here. Note, though, that the broadcast, which took place on May 31, is mislabeled as one with Colin Powell’s adjutant in the Bush administration, Lawrence Wilkerson, who was the primary guest a week earlier. This is coincidentally absurdly humorous, since Wilkerson is one of the high-ranking people responsible for so badly informing Powell about the ‘UK poison ring’ for his infamous UN Security Council address, a claim officially destroyed in 2005 by me.

But since Wilkerson is now a convenience to the left — someone from the Bush administration willing to regularly call Dick Cheney nuts — he was granted a get-out-of-jail-free card by the mainstream media.

I digress.

The show lasted an hour and I was on third, so if you want to skip the other hosts, advance in your player to around minute 40 and you’ll be in the general vicinity. However, the entire show is worth a listen.

Subject material was a discussion of Obama’s cybersecurity plan and other things readers of the blog will be familiar with.

Do people listen to these radio Pacifica stations? I have been told so by acquaintances. But often I have doubts.

06.12.09

Are Sales of ‘The Turner Diaries’ Up?

Posted in Extremism at 9:21 am by George Smith

“And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased,” wrote Paul Krugman.

He’s pointing out the obvious: The two recent assassinations conducted by white extremists uncomfortably aligns with the pop-eyed rhetoric emitted daily by the GOP.

Predictably, Krugman singles out Rush Limbaugh and actor Jon Voight, who has always been a notorious kook. However, the “rising star” is Glenn Beck, someone DD looked at back on the old blog late last year.

From that:

Beck’s Friday show was devoted to the outside-the-box thinking of a bunch of nuts white guys now on the fringes of society (Gerald Celente, Tim Strong, Stephen Moore, Michael Scheuer, Ben Sherwood and someone named Thor. Really.)

For lack of a better term, call them Turner Heevahavas. The first part of the name is taken straight from the pre-eminent piece of hate conspiracy lit written in the US, “The Turner Diaries.” In case you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a feverish book on the catastrophic collapse of the United States, allegedly brought about by Jews, socialists, liberals, blacks and college professors. Christian white identity freedom fighters band together to fight the government, hang everyone on their enemies list, and destroy all tyranny with atomic bombs.

Put a nicer face on it and the tone, conspiracy thought and attitude of “The Turner Diaries” is now found in the … GOP right. More generally, one can find it daily on blogs of the ilk of the Southeast Pennsy Biblical Neo-Nazi

Factually, one could see it coming a long way off, inspired and fertilized by tactics at the now notorious McCain campaign rallies.

Too many of the neo-Nazi white identity screeds from “The Turner Diaries” are unfortunately now mirrored by GOP dogma: the constant rabid complaint about socialism — of others, not the white southern base, getting something they don’t deserve.

To the GOP, the masses are hypnotized and oppressed by Obama. In “The Turner Dairies,’ the same things were credited to ‘the System.’


Point, set, match. Currently showing on the LV Biblical Neo-Nazi.


Related: 2010 comment on The Overton Window — here.

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