04.28.10

Cult of EMP Crazy: Scared stupid

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 8:29 pm by George Smith

One of the more dubious ‘gifts’ of the Cult of EMP Crazy — a richly manipulative group, if there ever was one — is the cruel brain haircut it imposes on its lessers. Think of it as a cynical tax on the IQ reserve for the sake of the missile defense/Bomb Iran lobby.

It’s quite the accomplishment. Thanks to the Heritage Foundation’s press machine, GOP voters in a placid place like Lancaster, Pennsylvania, think they have to worry about national collapse.

Put this notch in your belt, cynical Heritage boys:

You’ve frightened a middle-aged woman into preparing for something that has almost zero chance of ever influencing life in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with your EMP doom promotional campaign. Job well done!

From Lancaster news services:

Recent stories about solar flares and electromagnetic pulse bombs that could supposedly destroy communications networks have put her more [one Lancaster woman] on edge, she said.

But what if some catastrophe undermines law and order?

[One woman] said she has no intention of taking up arms, “Mad Max” style: “I’m the first person in the stew pot, I know that. I can’t fend off a gang of mutant zombie bikers.”

She won’t have to, she added, because her neighbors are already on the same self-reliant page.

Whether this ethic is infinitely adaptable to the nation’s neighborhoods is an open question.

Markman lauds backyard chicken raising. And he says personal fitness and health care awareness are especially sensible.

“I think that recognizing that things can go wrong … is a good thing,” he said.

However, he added, “I think that, in general, people underestimate the complexity of really doing everything yourself.”

Martin said he has no warm, fuzzy illusions about what would happen if political and economic systems should fail.

“I doubt if you’d get a Utopian society out of it.” On the other hand, he said, “if a disaster comes through and nobody’s prepared, your instinct cuts in and it’s a fight for survival.”

That’s just the kind of scenerio Giffin wants to avoid, especially for her children.

Previously, on Survivalism USA at Dick Destiny:

“[Some white Americans, all Republicans] think an electromagnetic pulse — EMP for short — set off by a hostile nation exploding a nuclear device in space could fry computer chips — shutting down everything from toasters and cell phones to trucks moving food, medicine and other essentials around the nation,” reports the Oregonian.

[A precious metals] dealer, said some of his customers ‘are actually making sure they have a vehicle that’s not going to be impacted by an EMP.'”

“Failure of the power grid is a common theme — say if huge federal deficits trigger inflation and workers abandon their jobs, or if solar flares damage the grid the way they fused telegraph lines in 1859.”

“[Some fellow in the countryside] has factored predatory gangs into his plans to flee to his Snake River hideout with his wife … and their supplies.”

Keep up the great work, asshats.

04.23.10

Matsumoto and Anthrax Conspiracy

Posted in Bioterrorism at 12:15 pm by George Smith

Last month DD posted on conspiracy thinking and the anthrax case here.

That article dealt with the original thinking that the anthrax in the mail had been weaponized in some special manner. And that notion was subsequently carried over into arguments that Bruce Ivins could not have been the culprit because he did not know how to do such a thing.

No amount of FBI explication or proof from a national laboratory that a silicon signal in the spores was not weaponization could dislodge this idea. Even so,
the conspiracy argument using it has been pushed to the fringes.

And that original post pointed to a news article published in Science in March entitled: “Silicon Mystery Endures in Solved Anthrax Case.”

That article did not endeavor to further any discussion of weaponization. It did, however, point out that the question about weaponization was settled — the anthrax powder was not so. It also mulled over the unanswered question of how silicon wound up in the spore coats of the mailed anthrax, something science has yet to answer, if it ever will.

Curiously, the journalist most responsible for the conspiracy thought on anthrax weaponization was Gary Matsumoto.

And it was a news article by him, published by Science in 2003, which became the heart of it.

It was Matsumoto’s news article in Science magazine in 2003 which bundled all the rumors of weaponization in a single authoritative spot.

Entitled “Anthrax Powder: State of the Art?”, it engaged in a speculation on how the mailed anthrax was weaponized.

An excerpt read thusly:

[One group of people] thinks that the powder mailed to the Senate (widely reported to be more refined than the one mailed to the TV networks in New York) was a diabolical advance in biological weapons technology. This diverse group includes scientists who specialize in biodefense for the Pentagon and other federal agencies, private-sector scientists who make small particles for use in pharmaceutical powders, and an electronics researcher [in Texas] …

The FBI science exhibit on the Ivins case in 2008 attempted to refute much of the wild thinking which grew from this, delivering a set of facts Science magazine repeated again in March of this year — conspicuously sans Matsumoto.

“Studying individual spores with a transmission electron microscope, [two scientists] found that the silicon was located within the spore coat, well inside the cell’s exosporium (outermost covering). By contrast, when they looked at surrogate spores weaponized with silica, the silicon was clearly outside the exosporium,” reported the magazine.

From a story I wrote for The Register in 2008 on the FBI Ivins exhibtion:

The posting to the net of a transcript of the FBI’s briefing to the press on the science behind the anthrax case is remarkable for two things: first, for its explanation of the development of microbial forensics and the team of scientists behind it; and second, for the determination of some members of the press to run off on a conspiracy theory hinging upon whether or not the anthrax was ever weaponized.

As to the second part, the FBI and its team of independent scientists unequivocally said it wasn’t, after repeated badgering by one journalist – unnamed in the transcript – who insisted other scientists at Ft. Detrick and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology had determined the anthrax to be weaponized because silica was allegedly seen on the surface of the spores.

Dr Joseph Michael, a materials scientist at Sandia National Laboratories who had, with others, analyzed the anthrax powders in depth, flatly denied this. “They are mistaken,” the man replied to repeated questioning.

The ‘unnamed’ journalist who was still after the FBI about weaponization in 2008 was Gary Matsumoto.

Today, ProPublica published a story by Gary Matsumoto, floating the idea that Bruce Ivins could not have been the anthrax mailer because his supervisor implies he couldn’t have done it.

“A microbiologist who supervised the work of accused anthrax killer Bruce E. Ivins explained to a National Academy of Sciences panel Thursday why the arithmetic of growing anthrax didn’t add up to Ivins’ mailing deadly spores in fall 2001,” wrote Matsumoto for ProPublica here.

” ‘Impossible,” said Dr. Henry S. Heine of a scenario in which Ivins, another civilian microbiologist working for the Army, allegedly prepared the anthrax spores at an Army lab at Fort Detrick. ‘”

To reiterate: In 2008, Ivins could not have been the anthraxer because it was weaponized with silicon, even though the FBI had a materials scientist explaining the matter.

In 2010 that argument was difficult to support.

However, the belief that Ivins was not the anthrax mailer is solidly entrenched in a certain segment, not the least of whom are some Ivins colleagues at Fort Detrick. Fort Detrick is the heart of the bioterror defense effort in the US and the discovery of Ivins in its midst was a heavy blow to the professional reputation and trust that was essential to the institution.

It’s only human nature, then, that Ivins’ supervisor — someone, who if you accept the case, totally missed the doings of the bioterrorist who was his colleague — would naturally resist the idea that his trusted man was the culprit. Ivins’ status as the anthrax mailer pretty much put Heine’s career in a box. More directly, it implied the man couldn’t be trusted with overseeing people working with dangerous pathogens at THE premier world and government facility for working with extremely dangerous pathogens.

Gary Matsumoto’s ProPublica article indicates that such is the case, although it does not label it so.

In ProPublica, one reads:

“Heine left [Fort Detrick] in February and is now senior scientist at the Ordway Research Institute, Inc. Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infections in Albany, N.Y.”

That’s the graceful way of science.

You’re given time to retire after a long career, to arrange a soft landing at some greatly lesser place after your epic fail.

It’s a major setback. The end of a career. And anyone in such a position would have a perfectly understandable reason to argue against the FBI’s case.

So the argument put forward by Gary Matsumoto is that a defrocked scientist believes Ivins could not have produced the mailed anthrax because now Ivins did not have the time to do so.

ProPublica produces some quotes that, in and of themselves, require a bit more explanation than the article furnishes.

“[Ivins] logged 34 more hours in the B3 suite than his combined total for the previous seven months,” reads ProPublica. This figure is taken from the FBI.

“That’s more than 8,000 hours (close to a year) short of what he would have needed to grow the anthrax,” Ivins’ supervisor told ProPublica in interview.

On the other hand, the DoJ/FBI report on the anthrax in the mail has this to say:

“A leading anthrax researcher who assisted the investigation expressed his expert opinion that 100 ml would have been required to create sufficient material to be in one letter, for a total of 500 ml for five letters. Nevertheless, we cannot say with certainty how much material was used in the letters.”

The expert scientist cited by the DoJ/FBI is not named.

Nevertheless, the government’s argument is that the material was sufficient, unremarkable for the estimated volumes used.

The ProPublica claims — however — are confusing, even if you have scientific experience. First, there is a claim that a year of effort would have been required to produce “100 liters” of anthrax. But directly across from this claim is a picture of Ivins’ Erlenmeyer flask anthrax source, with the caption: [It] would’ve taken a flask filled to brimming to come close to producing all the spores mailed in 2001.”

Which appears not to be an unreasonable amount at all, given Ivins’ access to the flask and his considerable experience.

From a practical standpoint, concentrations of microbial fermentations do not necessarily have to take “8,000 hours” of work and a hundred liters. With the respect to the FBI claim that Ivins used 34 hours to do such things, the latter is a reasonable claim. While the former is not easy to resolve using common sense from the point of view of the article without further information.

“When you dry spores, they fly everywhere and you can’t see ’em,” Heine told ProPublica. “Had Bruce made it during all those late nights in the hot suite, we would’ve been his first victims.”

This is also a bit of a disingenuous quote.

The DoJ/FBI report devotes quite a bit of space to anthrax contaminations in Ivins’ laboratory, his clean-up efforts, and — according to the FBI — his cover-ups of them.

In March, DD wrote this at the Register:

Unsurprisingly, with any case as famous, drawn out, terrifying and fraught with initial blind alleys as Amerithrax, there are a large number of people – in separate groups – who will never be able to accept that Ivins was the anthraxer. There are those with a professional interest in exonerating him in argument – colleagues at Ft. Detrick.

Ivins’s anthrax mailings from the heart of the country’s biodefense research establishment impeaches it on many levels, and it is human nature that such a verdict is unacceptable. Ivins throws into question the very need for its work, exploding the trust, reliability and impeccable reputation that such an institution must have.

=====

The FBI’s argument is technical but not unreasonable at all. It is consistent, for example, with this author’s scientific experience with bacterial preparations. Arguments to the contrary rely on equally technical details.

The press, of course, cannot evaluate independently, being only able to deliver arguments from authority – all depending on who it believes to be authority.

Seems reasonable.

Allentown Band’s PR Campaign On a Roll

Posted in Extremism, Rock 'n' Roll at 8:35 am by George Smith

Today Allentown hard rock band Poker Face’s campaign paid off big-time in an unexpected place — Springfield, Ohio.

In the Springfield News Sun, the opinion page of this Allentown Morning Call-sized newspaper, it was said:

The level of craziness that has been whipped up over the last year or so is now the dominant posture of America’s conservative wing.

Not that the left has always been sane — the 1960s are witness to that — but recently the right has hands-down cornered irrational exuberance.

A by-product is the rise of militias to fight off some danger perceived in the minds of talk radio personalities and handed off to their foot soldiers tramping about in the woods in their fatigues and guns.

Locally, there is a website for something called the Constitutional Militia of Clark County, which is a bit of a mystery. The site’s only point of contact with its creator is an e-mail address which doesn’t work.

The page does mention that the militia “is proud to announce the adoption of our new official anthem: ‘I’d Rather Die Than Be Your Slave’ by Pokerface, a political rock band from Allentown, PA.”

(Sample verse: It didn’t matter who shot first that day /

They killed my brothers, they laid dead by me — I’m covered in their blood /We hit them hard we made them pay that day / We hung the traitors from the highest trees — No mercy from me)

Leaving aside the questionable use of the word “laid,” this song is clearly off the planet in terms of lyrics you’d like floating around in the head of someone with access to weapons.

========

This week marks the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that took the lives of 168 people, a monument to the irrational mood that comes over our country sometimes.

Let’s turn down the volume.

This despite the quick removal of the ‘US Military Knows Israeli agents did 911’ thing from Poker Face’s website. (DD posted a snapshot of it here earlier this week.)

From the American kook far far right, conspiracy thinking produces a muddle of thought in which denial is the watermark for everything, from 9/11 ‘truth’ movement to the Holocaust and all points in between, no matter the cost to reputations.

In keeping with that, the Poker Face guy quickly followed up with a post today on 9/11 denial:

Sad thing about our accusers, is that they are all living in fantasy land, and dont want to wake up out of their soma coma. They love the entertainment to death drip going in their arms.

Thankfully, others are waking the F-up and have no problem telling the same TRUTHS we tell.

Go back to sleep clueless ones. you only get in the way.

This in a preamble to an article posted from the Holocaust denial publication, the American Free Press, addressing Jesse Ventura’s struggles to keep his cable series on conspiracy theory alive after he associated with 9/11 deniers.

The details of Ventura’s increasing kookiness were explained by Katherine Kersten of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune two years ago. I’ve excerpted some of the best bits from that column, which itself samples from a piece that ran in the Weekly Standard.

Recently, the Weekly Standard’s Matt Labash was in town to report on something we hear little about in the local press: the comings and goings of a guy with “the demeanor of a deranged homeless man.” Why was Labash interested in this man, when every other reporter in the universe was crammed into the Republican National Convention, which was going on across the river?

The guy in question was our former governor — Jesse Ventura. “The Body” was back under the big lights, speaking to thousands at the Ron Paul convention at Target Center. Organizers billed the event as a return to Republicans roots. Apparently, they saw Ventura as worthy of star billing.

Labash didn’t pretend to journalistic objectivity. Here’s a sample of his report:

“Backstage I find Jesse Ventura holding court. In jeans and a Navy SEAL T-shirt under a sports jacket, his large shiny head ringed with long wisps of unkempt hair, he has, since leaving office and moving to Mexico, taken on the demeanor of a deranged homeless man.”

=======

The Ron Paul organizers worked hard to prevent fringe groups from hi-jacking their event, according to Labash. They were particularly concerned about “9/11 Truthers,” who deny mainstream accounts of the World Trade Center’s destruction. The Paul folks saw Ventura as a serious risk in this regard, and convinced him not to broach the subject, says Labash.

But when he chatted with Ventura backstage, Labash says he learned that Jesse was going to break the taboo:

“I decide to bait Ventura, offering that some of the 9/11 Truthers in the crowd are disappointed their viewpoints aren’t being represented.

“‘They will when I get up there,’ he growls. He says he’s been studying the issue ‘for well over a year and a half,’ and he feels ‘very strongly that the truth has not been forthcoming.’

“When asked what the truth is and whether the government had something to do with it, he says, ‘I don’t know. But I know this, I do have somewhat of a demolition background, being a member of the Navy’s underwater demolition team, and I spoke to a few of my teammates a couple weeks ago. We’re all in agreement that buildings can’t fall at the rate of gravity without being assisted. And that’s called physics, that’s not an opinion.’”

Sure enough. Ventura’s speech threw 9/11 red meat to the boisterous crowd, according to Labash. Although he stopped short of accusing the U.S. government of complicity in the attacks, his speech was loaded with enough cryptic questions and innuendo to make clear where he stands on the issue, says Labash.

Elsewhere, Ventura has gone beyond questions and innuendo. Recently, he endorsed Kevin Barrett – who believes the U.S. government was behind the attacks — for a Wisconsin congressional seat, according to the Star Tribune.

========

How did this man get involved with the fringe agenda of the 9/11 deniers?

“Oh God, kill me now,” wrote a waggish critic at TV.com.

“TruTV, which carries such enlightening fare as Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura and Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel, has okayed Wicked Summah, a reality show in the same vein as Jersey Shore but with “Massholes”—those white-hat, Tom-Brady-jersey-wearing, frat heads—instead of Guidos. Hopefully the house they film the show in will be right next door to the the house where they film I’m Going to Kill My Annoying Neighbors.”

“Hilarious … Oh wait, it’s not supposed to be. Never mind,” judged Newsday.

“Maybe you just want someone to validate a bunch of cockamamie garbage,” opined the Kansas City Star.

“So while it makes for some of the worst investigative television this side of Dateline, seeing a former United States governor sit down and attempt to have a serious discussion with a fat, bearded, middle-aged yokel wearing an undersized 50 Cent t-shirt is the kind of markedly hilarious scenario one could only find on Conspiracy Theory,” said another publication.

Perhaps too unappreciative of art, they are collected at Metacritic here.

The last time DD chatted about Ventura was in December in From Tough Guy to Kook.

04.22.10

Bioterror Defense Lobbyists = Broken Record

Posted in Bioterrorism at 9:59 am by George Smith

The Graham-Talent Commission on WMD’s (that isn’t the commission anymore) had its usual pitch to submit to a Congressional hearing yesterday:

Al-Qaeda was well down the road to producing [bioweapons] prior to 9/11. Due to the ease in creating a clandestine production capability, our intelligence community had no knowledge of two such facilities in Afghanistan prior to their capture by U.S. troops and a separate, but parallel bioweapons development program al-Qaeda ran in Malaysia.

(There was a one-man company in Malaysia but never any suggestion that anything was going on with it. See here. And because the story of al Qaeda’s total non-achievement of biological weapon capability in Afghanistan is complicated and historically contaminated with misstatement and exaggeration by US officials, it has always lent itself to simple inversions, as demonstrated by Graham and Talent. — DD)

Facilities with more sophisticated equipment than those found could be in operation today without our knowledge.

When would we find out about such a facility? It is possible, even likely, that we would not know until after an attack took place. Consider this scenario: a team of engineers sympathetic to al-Qaeda bring a seed culture of anthrax spores to the U.S. from an overseas laboratory. They purchase and modify a truck so that it sprays anthrax spores into the air. They load up the truck with its deadly cargo, and slowly drive it through the downtown traffic of a mid-sized city during rush hour, at the end of the day. No one notices the truck, or finds it at all unusual that the truck is emitting fumes. No BioWatch sensors go off. Days later, however, desperately ill people start flooding emergency rooms. In the following weeks, 13,000 people die. The city may need to be cleaned up so that people can safely enter the downtown area, at a cost of billions of dollars. And as tragic as this event could be, the terrorists remain at large, free to commit the same murder twice.

It’s always worth noting the Graham/Talent claim that al Qaeda was “well down the road” to producing bioweapons has always been bullshit.

And they have told the same Biblical-catastrophe story about foreign terrorists attacking US cities with anthrax so many times that such pieces are almost no longer worth counting, they’ve become so devalued through numbing repetition.

The dirty laundry list is here. The two work under the directive that the truth and certainty of a thing is determined by how many times you get to plant a frightening scenario pertaining to it in newspapers.

And they continually distort and exaggerate what was found with regards to ‘al Qaeda’ capabilities for the purpose of advancing their recommendations. It’s a manipulative and deceptive tactic.

The two men and their agency are lobbyists, sock puppets or astro-turfers — if you prefer, for the bioterror defense industry, more specifically the Center for Biosecurity/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Their two chief staffers are indistinguishable from the latter, having effectively taken over the emissions of the Graham-Talent commission last year.

The real purpose of Graham and Talent is to help promote the bioterror defense business goals of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Reporting from a homeland security trade publication here, we read:

Graham and Talent particularly emphasized the need for more spending on medical countermeasures in both their oral and written testimony. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Agency (BARDA) would receive $476 million in the fiscal 2011 budget proposal for HHS, but a study by the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center determined BARDA should receive about $3.4 billion annually for five years to produce enough medical countermeasures for the top eight pathogens.

“It now falls to the US government to fund the development of medical countermeasures based upon the level of risk that is deemed tolerable,” the commissioners wrote “An amount of $1.7 billion per year would meet roughly half the estimated need to provide a significant and necessary down-payment on the nation’s preparedness. Given the threat, $1.7 billion per year for prevention and consequence management is a reasonable and comparatively sound investment.”

This is Graham-Talent’s tricky way of disguising that the figure they ‘independently’ furnish on what constitutes appropriate bioterror defense spending was actually given to them by Tara O’Toole and the Center for Biosecurity/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

(‘One point seven billion’ is half of what should be spent, they say. Get it? Two times 1.7 billion = $3.4 billion, the UPMC number.)

Of course, the UPMC wants a huge slice of taxpayer funding for a bioterror defense nostrum/vaccine production center.


Just last week — the Buttinski Bioterror Defense Lobby.

Cult of Cyberwar: McAfee surpasses North Korea as cyberattack power

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 8:48 am by George Smith

Yesterday McAfee issued an anti-virus update that rung up a false positive on the Windows XP operating system core file, svchost.exe.

When DD read it, he laughed.

(If your PC skills are a little duff, to understand why this was bad funny, open the Task Manager — instructions here. Scroll down and you’ll see a number of svchost.exe processes. Imagine if an anti-virus program suddenly took them all away. Big oof!)

It’s nearly the biggest mistake you can make as an anti-virus software developer. And in one fell swoop, it bricked machines nationwide, allowing McAfee to easily surpass North Korea as a cyberpower to be feared.

Why North Korea?

Because Richard Clarke was on the Maddow show last night, dispensing his usual shtick on cyberwar. And Maddow was drinking it all in, captivated by the idea of North Korea as a serious cyberthreat to the US because, infrastructurally, it is so poor and primitive.

Why, all those wily North Koreans have to do is rent a hotel room in China and launch a cyberattack on the US on the 4th of July against government websites hardly anyone visits!

That’s the argument.

USA Today, in reporting on the consequences of the McAfee false positive:

News reports and Twitter chatter suggest thousands of Windows PCs in large organizations around the globe were thrown into fits of rebooting yesterday after antivirus giant McAfee distributed a routine update carrying an egregious error.

Now each one of those computers will have to be manually cleaned. Affected organizations can expect to expend a minimum of 30 minutes of manual labor per PC to get each one back into working order, says Steve Shillingford, CEO of tech forensics firm Solera Networks.

“There’s no way to automate the process,” says Amrit Williams, CTO of security management system company Big Fix. “It will take however long it takes to touch each single machine. The companies affected by this could be dealing with this for days or weeks.”

—-

Solera Networks, a supplier of network forensics technology, says it helped one large U.S. multi-national company quickly determine that the poisonous update from McAfee threw 50,000 of its PCs into a rebooting frenzy. McAfee advised the company that “remediation time is estimated to be 30 minutes per user, ” says Solera CEO Shillingford.

“Estimating $100 per hour, this organization’s lost time alone can be conservatively estimated to cost more than $2.5 million,” says Shillingford. “And that does not factor in lost productivity while users are down.”

Security experts say false positives are impossible to completely eliminate …

Incidentally, here’s a McAfee press release from last year warning about cyberwar, authored by Paul Kurtz, one of Richard Clarke’s lieutenants. Good Harbor, Clarke’s company, was commissioned to write it.

McAfee Inc. Warns of Countries Arming for Cyberwarfare

The United States, Israel, France, China and Russia are Cyberarmed; Critical Infrastructure is at Risk, According to McAfee’s Fifth Annual Virtual Criminology Report

—-

Former White House advisor Paul Kurtz compiled the report on McAfee’s behalf.

The report for the first time provides a model to define cyberwar, identifies the countries involved in developing cyberoffenses and cyberdefenses, dissects examples of politically-motivated cyberattacks and reveals how the private sector will get caught in the crossfire. Government disclosure is also a major issue, as cyber initiatives and information are often classified by the government, hindering cybercrime defense in the public and private sector.

Experts call for a clear definition and an open debate on cyberwarfare. Without an open discussion among the government, private sector and the public, future cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure could be devastating.

——

Private Sector is the Most at Risk – Critical infrastructure is privately-owned in many developed countries, making it a huge target for cyberwarfare. The private sector relies heavily on the government to prevent cyberattacks. If virtual shooting starts, governments, corporations and private citizens may get caught in the crossfire. Without insight into the government’s cyberdefense strategy, the private sector is not able to be proactive and take the proper precautions. Experts call for a public discussion on cyberwarfare, bringing it out of the shadows.

Et tu, McAfee?

Only kiddin’.


A comment on McAfee’s cyberwar report from last year.

04.21.10

Best Public Relations Campaign by Pennsy Hard Rock Band, Evuh

Posted in Extremism, Rock 'n' Roll at 9:18 am by George Smith

Snapshot from the local Allentown, PA, chapter of the white Christian identity movement and rock band, Poker Face:

Good news, lads! Good news! This will certainly show the ADL and Southern Poverty Law Center what for!

Cult of EMP Crazy: Rush Limbaugh

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Cyberterrorism, Extremism at 7:39 am by George Smith

Why are you not surprised?

Completely shut out — except on opinion pages and in press releases from the Heritage Foundation — that nugget of the GOP far right known as the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy resorted to lobbying Rush Limbaugh.

Birther Frank Gaffney spoke with Limbaugh who told it this way:

People are utterly unprepared to live and to deal with circumstances that were the norm for humanity up to a hundred years ago. Stop and think about that. I interviewed Frank Gaffney, defense policy expert during the Reagan years, for the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter. I talked to him on Friday. One of his big concerns is that the Iranians could load up a small little nuclear device on a boat and start trolling the East Coast of the United States, there are some 2,000 ships a day out there, how do you know which one is the mullahs cruise ship? They launch a little nuke and detonate it in the atmosphere and cause an EMP, electromagnetic pulse. He said if they took out our electric grid, if they took out our ability for electricity, do you realize the number of mass deaths that would happen very quickly? So dependent are we on all these — What got me to thinking about this is that we live at a time where we’ve had all this modernization, all of these terrific advancements that have enhanced life, improved the quality of life, and lengthened the span of life.

We are being pestered by a bunch of people who have friends in this regime who want to roll all of that back and take us back to the times where life was much more primitive. Now, people did not die en masse because there wasn’t electricity. Life was harder. Nighttime was really dark. You had to have your torches out there or what have you, and that was, you know, only after somebody figured out how to create fire, about which they made a movie. Imagine if that guy had been able to patent it. Can you imagine if that guy had a family, they’d be the richest people in the world, the guy that invented fire, had the patent on it. Every time a fire happened, this guy got the royalty. But they didn’t think about things like that back then. You have all these scions out there like the Sulzberger guy at the New York Times, you’ve got the people from the old Firestone Tire and Rubber, you got the Ford, GM, the Mellons and so forth, and now you’ve got all these fourth and fifth generation offspring that have no idea what their families did to create it living off of it.

Hmmm. So let’s see if DD understands this. Iran could take US back to the time of the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and the Obama administration also wants to take us back to a time “when life was much more primitive.”

Also, the people who control fire at such a time get all the royalties. And the Sulzbergers, “old Firestone Tire and Rubber … the Mellons and so forth,” plus the New York Times, they’re sort of the firemakers now, so they’d benefit. Or something like that.

Therefore, the mullahs and the current US “regime” are somehow connected in this desire.

“All of liberalism is a giant hoax,” Limbaugh concludes.

There’s also some jabber about the volcano and airplanes.

Cult of EMP Crazy is the best sobriquet, don’t you think?


DD was once popular with Rush Limbaugh because I had written something he found convenient.


It would be remiss of me not to mention one of the chieftains of the Cult of Cyberwar in this post. That’d be Richard Clarke, who is currently flogging his newest book on … cyberwar … at least the second on the topic, the last one being fiction.

Here one observes stiff competition for the meme of who will turn out our lights. It could be Iran or China using hackers. Or it could be Iran, employing electromagnetic pulse.

Iran has a lot of options, apparently. I’m afraid, aren’t you?

Writes the instapundit guy at the Wall Street Journal:

Over the past few decades, American society has become steadily more wired. Devices talk to one another over the Internet, with tremendous increases in efficiency: Copy machines call their own repairmen when they break down, stores automatically replenish inventory as needed and military units stay in perpetual contact over logistical matters—often without humans in the loop at all. The benefits of this nonstop communication are obvious, but the vulnerabilities are underappreciated. The Internet was designed for ease of communication; security was (and is) largely an afterthought. We have created a hacker’s playground.

Worse yet, computer hardware, usually made in China, is sometimes laced with “logic bombs” that will allow anyone who has the correct codes—the Chinese government comes to mind—to turn our own devices against us. [Richard Clarke] and Knake are particularly concerned with risks to the electric grid

Here the enemies, as usual, are Iran and China. A couple months ago it was North Korea.

Clarke’s book — Cyberwar: The Next National Security Threat and What to Do About It — was said to have claimed North Korea was a cyberwar power to be feared because it was primitive and poor. The reasoning being that it was invulnerable to cyber-retaliation. Because it was poor and primitive and so on.

(Clarke repeated the substance of this for Maddow again tonight. Because North Korea is infrastructurally a cybernobody, it’s a cyber superpower).

“Worrying about threats to the electric grid is all the rage these days, with anxious planners troubled by electromagnetic pulse attacks or even solar superflares that could melt down the power net for months or even years, bringing civilization to a halt,” argued the instapundit.

“But Richard Clarke … [warns] in ‘Cyber War’ that if such a calamity occurs, the culprit behind it might not be a high-altitude nuclear burst or strange solar weather but a computer hacker in Beijing or Tehran.”

04.20.10

Awkward Military Minds Stumped by Army of Fat Kids

Posted in Stumble and Fail, Why the World Doesn't Need US at 8:39 am by George Smith

Today’s first item is bizarre, an example of how a box of well-meaning rocks, to which physical fitness means everything, think only narrowly and in a peculiar manner.

That the American diet in 2010 stinks is beyond question. Decades on it has resulted in obesity as a growth industry. And its consequences with regards to the general health of the population have been staggering.

A report today from the Associated Press concerns a group of retired military men who view “school lunches” as a national security threat because they make kids too fat to fight.

It’s what happens when you have no outside advisors, no person to read what you’ve come up with and give you a good slap upside the head, saying: “And just when did you discover obesity is a bad thing?”

“So you’ve decided to label school lunches a natsec threat. What about all the other ways in which people get their foods and the nature of such nourishment choices, huh?”

Paid any attention to Michelle Obama recently, fellows? She’s not just concerned about national security.

Anyway, AP reads like this:

School lunches have been called many things, but a group of retired military officers is giving them a new label: national security threat.

That’s not a reference to the mystery meat served up in the cafeteria line either. The retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation’s young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military’s physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy.

A new report being released Tuesday says more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation’s school lunches healthier.

The officers’ group, Mission: Readiness, was appearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” [one military man] said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is “absolutely dependent” on reversing child obesity rates.

Today, the group is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits.

Good luck with stopping kids and everyone else from drinking corn syrup sweetened soda pop, armed forces dudes.

There are many problems facing the United States. Obesity, not just in children, but in the entire population, is certainly one that looms … large.

A lesser problem, but one that is still vexing in a way very unique to Americans, is to view too many problems in terms of their impact as a threat to national security.

That is, to think of them in such a narrow-focus way that proposed solutions only serve your profession’s goals. That’s just damn selfish.

It’s not just ALL ABOUT YOU.

What was that famous picture of the future from the cute sci-fi movie?

Oh yeah, this … Well, there’s always robots. Isn’t the US military big on them?

04.18.10

Public Relations Funnies with Poker Face

Posted in Extremism, Rock 'n' Roll at 5:20 pm by George Smith

Yesterday, a handful of neo-Nazis were in downtown LA trying to provoke a riot with the police and immigrants. It did not go well for them.

Wrote one friend who had to get through it:

There were unintentionally humorous elements. The cops in riot gear escorted the Nazis back to their cars after the demonstration, but instead of making a smooth getaway, one of their crappy cars wouldn’t start. So the Nazis were trying to use jumper cables and shield themselves as the counter-protesters rained rocks and bottles on them …

What did [Paul Fussell] call this? The bottom-out-of-sight class?

And today DD takes readers back to the local chapter of the white Christian identity movement in Allentown, Poker Face.

On tax day Poker Face issued a press release. And it mentioned me! Although it was primarily aimed at one of the group’s regular arch-enemies, the Anti-Defamation League.

Mr. Poker Face, Paul Topete, did a question and answer for the settling of various controversies swirling about his band.

Here’s one part of it:

Question: As you might know, the Anti-Defamation League wrote something on their website speaking out against your band. They refer to your band as anti-government and anti-immigrant, and they post stuff from your website and interviews you’ve done that they claim are anti-Semitic and Holocaust denials:

http://www.adl.org/main_Extremism/poker_face_anti_government.htm

RESPONSE – We weren’t aware of that until you pointed it out. Thank you. Actually we’re not all that concerned about the ADL/SPLC/AIPAC and their history of character assassinations. Heck, they even attacked Frank Zappa. It’s hard to take them
serious when they have ties to known terrorist groups like the JDL and JDO as well as many other illegal activities like spying on Americans in California etc.

And here is another:

As you’ve probably seen, there are other blogs that have been writing this stuff too:

[link to DD post]

Do you have any response to any of this?

RESPONSE – Never heard of him …

There is also a long non-explanation on Holocaust denial. (Readers can find it easily enough at the top of the band’s website.)

But the best part of the press release is this:

QUESTION – … and claiming that Israel was behind 9/11. Do you believe these things?

ANSWER – We do not believe that Israel was the sole perpetrator of 9-11

Is there a public relations damage control expert who can help these poor folk out? Probably not.

In any case, readers will remember the local newspaper did a lukewarm story on Poker Face, one which mentioned the band’s forum for Holocaust denial at the foot of the piece.

The salient paragraph was this:

But Poker Face also has raised eyebrows with a forum on its Web site that includes such topics as the authenticity of the Holocaust, Jewish control of the media and repatriating illegal immigrants.

At the time, DD was passed comment from the Call’s assigning features editor before the story was done but after the nature of Poker Face’s website was brought to her attention.

They’re worth noting:

“I did just go to the Web site to see what I could see and after 10 minutes, still did not find anything. I see there are thousands of posts on the forum – just don’t have time to sift through.”

Maybe that was true. Or maybe not. To steal a phrase, it’s an eyebrow raising statement.

And this is because it is difficult to log onto Poker Face’s web forum and not immediately stumble upon rants like these:

Your eyes are not failing, your mind not playing tricks. Yes, this is what it says:

“Elliot Spitzer was set up by the mossad with a JAP-Shiska … [he is] not a zionazi cock-sucking Israeli firster …”

“Write on Mr. Spitzer, your sage wisdom is needed now more than ever,” it concludes.

That’s some recommendation. If only we all had such friends.

Next …

Here Topete expresses his disappointment with famous Christian fundamentalist preachers because they blather on “teebee … about how we have to protect the atheistic JEW founded Israel.”

And …

“It just never stops with the International Jewry and its affront to freedom for all,” writes a seemingly angered Topete.

Kevin MacDonald was written about by the OC Weekly recently here.

An excerpt:

Over the years, the Long Beach State psychology professor has courted controversy for books and articles asserting Jews have kept their culture throughout the millennia as a strategy that lets them compete against and subvert Western civilization. His works have been denounced by his 49ers colleagues, civil-rights organizations—seemingly everyone except white supremacists, who revere him as their movement’s contemporary intellectual giant.

All along, MacDonald has insisted he isn’t an anti-Semite or a neo-Nazi and definitely not a racist—he’s just a hard-working academic whose work happens to have an exclusively skinhead following. “I don’t necessarily endorse all of the attitudes reflected in all of the articles,” MacDonald wrote to the Southern Poverty Law Center in regards to a 2008 exposé in its Intelligence Report magazine showing the professor’s courting of the extreme right through submitting his work in their publications and accepting their grants.

But at [a summer 2009 meeting of the Institute for Historical Review, the country’s premier Holocaust-denying organization], MacDonald began shedding his regular-guy façade. And with his introductions to Freedom 14 and other local neo-Nazis at that conference, the professor began the first steps toward emerging as a full-fledged bigot.

Topete’s posts on Jews creep into almost every corner of the band’s forum. Here are a couple quick screen shots of various message threads. They speak eloquently for themselves.

Note helpful ‘Christian identity info’ stuck in the middle of the rubbish about the ‘lost tribes of Israel.’ That was considerate.


Update

The Call keeps tryin.’ Atta boys.

04.17.10

Poxy Foolz

Posted in Why the World Doesn't Need US at 1:10 pm by George Smith

Good news, lads! Good news! Seen in the checkout mag rack at Ralphs, across from OneWest, Satan’s Favorite Bank in Pasadena, today.

Better watch the Colbert video or you won’t know whether to shit or go blind. But the greatest dubious achievement is this: The modern day Marie Antoinettes who fabricated the Newsweek cover story never get even a faint taste of what everyone else suffers.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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