11.26.10

Thanksgiving?

Posted in Stumble and Fail at 9:43 am by George Smith

What for?

This?

The U.S. Commerce Department reports today that corporate profits are at a record high, at a time when corporations are sitting on $1.8 trillion in cash reserves. At the same time, 15 million Americans are still looking for work.

Two years after the financial collapse caused by right-wing deregulation and corporate greed, Wall Street is handing out its biggest bonuses in history — more than $144 billion. At the same time, millions of working Americans are struggling to feed their families, pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads.

And the situation is set to get even more painful in the months ahead. Millions of Americans — 2 million in December alone — will be cut off from unemployment insurance. Republicans in Congress blocked an extension of this emergency lifeline just before leaving Washington, DC, for their Thanksgiving recess.

One of the president’s, and the Democratic party’s, faults — is that they never grasped the need for lynchings.

The Republicans know the value of burning people at the stake. At least they get the concept of revenge.

The Patriotic Class War Song.

Lyrics.

11.24.10

Cult of EMP Crazy Given Bum’s Rush — Again

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Extremism at 1:11 pm by George Smith

Whenever the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy sees its plans go down in flames, you never hear much in the mainstream.

The only stuff you do see is when it’s busy astro-turfing the issue. Which can be seen in all the opinion pieces on the country being thrown back into the Dark Ages, appearing like mushrooms on the manure pile after a wet spell, in the same media.

So you had to search for this one.

Lisa Murkowski, the GOP senator from Alaska, slew the Cult beast, for the time being, in mid-October.

Well done!

Here (Page down a bit to see the repost):

In a surprising election-year gambit, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has gutted legislation with strong bipartisan support that would protect the U.S. power grid from solar flares and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons, to benefit a “clean” energy bill backed by Senate Democrats.

The original bill, known as the GRID Act, authorized the federal government to take emergency measures to protect some 300 giant power transformers around the country. It passed the House of Representatives by a unanimous voice vote in August, an unusual show of bipartisan support in this Congress.

But when it went to the Senate, the bill was gutted of the measures to protect the power grid from EMP attack by Murkowski and committee chairman Jeff Bingamon, D-N.M., while other portions of the bill were added to her own energy bill, S. 1462, the American Clean Energy Act of 2009.

“Sen. Murkowski stripped H.R. 5026 of the main elements designed to protect our infrastructure and did not add them to her bill,” said Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition.

An aide to Murkowski said that Murkowski voted for stripping out the EMP provisions of the bill on practical, not political, grounds.

The bill was going nowhere. The administration opposed it, and favored a government-wide effort, not a piecemeal approach.” He added that blaming Murkowski, the ranking Republican on the Energy Committee, for altering legislation being managed by the majority Democrats was “an election-year gambit by far right wing groups. Murkowski did not place a hold on the House bill.”

Murkowski recently declared victory over the Tea Party kook, Joe Miller, in a write-in campaign after the latter unseated her in a primary.

11.23.10

Defending the Indefensible

Posted in War On Terror at 5:43 pm by George Smith

It should not come as a surprise that the mainstream media, after enjoying publicizing all the bad stories about the TSA and airport security misadventures now feels compelled to run stories and polls explaining how the TSA is just doing its job, its workers are in a bad position, and many Americans think being treated like crap is cool. As long as they’ve been told it’s for the good of the country and everyone else, too.

The latter view is unsurprising although one guest on Olbermann just a few minutes ago expressed some astonishment at the news.

Here’s an example from AP:

Many travelers said that the scans and the pat-down were not much of an inconvenience, and that the stepped-up measures made them feel safer and were, in any case, unavoidable.

“Whatever keeps the country safe, I just don’t have a problem with,” Leah Martin, 50, of Houston, said as she waited Monday to go through security at the Atlanta airport.

At New York’s LaGuardia Airport early Tuesday, Jeannine St. Amand got a pat-down in front of her husband and two children. The 45-year-old from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, figured she got one because the underwire of her bra tripped the metal detector.

“It’s hard to remember all the restrictions. Next time, I’ll wear a different bra,” she said.

Probably all true. DD doesn’t think it would be hard at all to find people who, after years of being seared by stories about the big bad al Qaeda men, the shoe bomber and the underwear bombers, believe whatever you tell them when it comes to national security necessity.

What of the annoying fact that the last two famous failed incidents — the underwear bomber’s smoking parts and the UPS/Fed-Ex transported printer bombs, did not involve going through TSA or the multiple buzzing and prodding layers of US security at all?

It’s just of no relevance in such on-the-spot interviews and polls. But I bet a polling or news agency could make it so just by making the questions less leading and more complex in their recitation of recent history as reference point.

One moment from cable television yesterday is of note.

MSNB’s Chris Matthews took time out to bully a woman from EPIC, Ginger McCall, on the matter of airport security, a topic in which he’s simply a daddy-knows-best kind of guy. Daddy — in this case — being the national security infrastructure.

Crooks & Liars captured it here:

What set Matthews off was the lady’s mentioning of former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff’s lobbying efforts for Rapiscan.

Matthews accused his guest of slandering Chertoff, of accusing the latter of corruption, a development he darkly intimated would have consequences.

It was a despicable moment and, naturally, ended the interview.

It was also excessive in its bullshit and odious in Matthews’ toad-like defense of Chertoff. Who can’t be defended in this matter.

The Washington Post covered Chertoff’s connection to Rapiscan early last year. And even after adding a “clarification” to the story, mostly aimed at its original title, it cannot be argued that Chertoff has not become part of the conflict-of-interest revolving door that exists in Washington, one in which people in positions of oversight immediately go to work for the businesses they were formerly supposed to be overseeing.

I’ve written about this for awhile in various places. The bioterror defense industry, for example, is also riddled by this manner of crony-ism.

Anyway, the US model of counter-terror, as most people experience it, is stubbornly reactive. And that has to do with a number of reasons, one of which is tightly bound up with money and opportunity.

Intelligence on terrorism is hard.

However, reactive measures — which includes open solicitation for devices and procedures from the national security industry, is not.

There’s a widespread belief, impossible to dislodge, that devices — or the next one down the road — will be silver bullets. Or at least, always better — when they really just turn out to be … more.

And this is coupled with a supporting cast, people in businesses who sit around imagining what terrorists could do if they had all US resources, and using their concocted tests and scenarios as pitches and sales tools.

So corporate natsec businesses really like the way things work now.

And the people who work in government in homeland security, counter-terrorism, policy and oversight in these areas, are regularly recruited and poached away by lucrative offers in the industry. Or the implication and recognition that such positions await them once they leave government service.

This is the same revolving door which you see everywhere else in American government overtaken by corporate capture.

US Fail: Tungsten-lined underwear for the privacy-minded whacko

Posted in Extremism, Imminent Catastrophe, War On Terror at 1:24 pm by George Smith

Today the Los Angeles Times bit on one of those things that destroys the credibility of newspapers — the maker of tungsten-lined underwear who claims his sales have soared.

“A Colorado man thinks he’s found a way to protect your private parts from unwanted radiation and government peeping at airports,” it begins.

“Jeff Buske of Larkspur is selling tungsten-lined underwear on-line …”

Where on-line?

Ah, you have to wait for it.

Infowars.com, the creation of fringe radio personality Alex Jones. The newspaper declines to helpfully inform readers that people who visit infowars.com are nuts.

Besides the ads pushing golbuggism, colloidal silver snake oil, and fluoridation contaminating your precious bodily fluids, today’s big stories on the website include an expose on how the RAND Corporation is behind the outbreak of hostilities between the Koreas and how the “US military industrial complex armed North Korea with nuclear weapons.”

In other words, the people allegedly “buying” tungsten-lined underwear are the same people DD occasionally mentions as part of the longstanding US extremist fringe.

Now, we’re not just talking Tea Partiers here.

It’s the real cream of the damaged crop, those who exchange e-mail newsletters on how the US has set up death camps, that electromagnetic pulse doom is about to rain from the sky, and that the collapse of US civilization is imminent. So one needs to harden and prepare the bunker in the pasture for the time when the hordes — the rest of us — coming storming out of the cities, desperate to take their stuff.

Somehow you don’t get that from the Los Angeles Times, despite the mildly tee-hee quality associated with talk about shielded bras and “nipples.”

One is tempted to call it a new low for the newspaper. But it’s not.

Everyone in the mainstream media jumped on the rubbish after it crept onto one TV network.

11.22.10

US Fail: Beware the Ostomate Bomber

Posted in War On Terror at 10:21 pm by George Smith

Predictably, the TSA has run into an ostomy patient, someone who had his bladder removed because of cancer. And the results were as bad you might expect.

A humiliated urine-soaked older man — someone with who couldn’t possibly be a terrorist — and another story of professional training in callousness as a way of doing things and TSA workers unable to develop or use good judgment.

From the AP:

TSA agents need to be trained to listen when someone tells them they have a health issue, because the one thing that Tom in his account talked about was he tried to explain and they just weren’t even interested in listening,” Saxton told The Associated Press.

“No one living with an ‘ostomy’ should be afraid of flying because they’re afraid of being humiliated,” she said.

“Tom Sawyer, a 61-year-old retired special education teacher, said the experience left him in tears before he caught a flight to Orlando, Fla., on Nov. 7,” it reads.

From the Register, by DD, after the underwear bomber’s apprehension last year:

In the paranoid atmosphere of oversurveillance, it doesn’t take much work to imagine a classified memo at the Dept of Homeland Security or the TSA warning to be on the lookout for the bizarre-looking terrorists masquerading as ostomate patients, even though such people are generally not young men.

“A urostomy or colostomy bag and its tubing could give cover for small amounts of PETN and chemical fusing,” it might go. “Such things have the additional value of being designed to prevent unseemly leaks and odors although not designed for compounds more active than those produced by the human body.”

No joke.


A subsequent story notes:

A bladder cancer survivor, Thomas Sawyer now wears a wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine through an opening in his stomach. When the bag was fondled by a TSA agent after the bag set off alarms in the airport’s scanner, urine spilled all over Sawyer’s clothes.

This is factually inaccurate, or very poorly worded.

DD’s dad died in his mid-50’s from metastatic bladder cancer. His bladder was removed, and the ureters redirected to an opening made in the abdominal wall — not the stomach. However, it’s easy to grasp the fact that the seal which allows drainage to a bag is very obviously a fragile one.

People who won’t listen when someone tells them of such a thing during a security check reveal training and procedures to be inadequate to dealing with the public, except in a hostile manner.

Make Sure to Get the Lead In

Posted in Stumble and Fail at 9:14 pm by George Smith


Don’t put it in your mouth. Much.

From the wires, the standard story of the American business fronting made-in-China stuff with lead in it. Stuff that we used to be able to make. But American workers just cost too much. And it’s so much more profitable to bypass all consumer protections for offshored things.

From AP:

Federal regulators launched an investigation Monday into lead levels in drinking glasses depicting comic book and movie characters, declaring that the items are subject to standards for “children’s products.”

Testing commissioned by The Associated Press revealed that the glasses contained lead up to 1,000 times the federal limit for children’s products — as much as 30 percent by weight. The items also contained lesser amounts of the more-toxic metal cadmium.

The glasses — with colorful designs depicting the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman and characters from “The Wizard of Oz” such as Dorothy and the Tin Man — did not release high amounts of lead from the decorations, and no one would be injured by handling them. The issue is whether the glasses, made in China, comply with strict federal law on how much lead can be in a children’s product.

The importer of the glasses, Vandor LLC of Utah, told AP the glasses are targeted to adult collectors and that they passed testing for lead.
But a spokesman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Scott Wolfson, said Monday that the agency considers the glasses children’s products and is currently collecting samples for its own testing.

Last week, while commenting on AP’s test results, Warner Brothers said, “It is generally understood that the primary consumer for these products is an adult, usually a collector.”

However, on Warner Brothers’ website, the superhero glasses are sold alongside kids’ T-shirts with similar images and a school lunch box. An online retailer, http://www.retroplanet.com, describes the 10-ounce glasses as “a perfect way to serve cold drinks to your children or guests.”

Note standard deployment of cya lying by US corporate businessmen.

Official photo is of DD’s made-in-China mojo free Mojo Deluxe Blues & Rock harmonica, the single most absurd piece of kit I have in my possession.

Made for use at corporate seminars where managers and cubicle workers can be taught to blow their blues away in unison.

Sadly, the Mojo Deluxe was not a success.

By the way, if you’re in Pasadena on December 12th, I’ll show it to you as bonus for attending the Dick Destiny Band’s free holiday party/rock show. Just ask for directions.

11.19.10

Chinese Demand for Marginal US Candy Creates 25 New Jobs in US

Posted in Made in China at 11:29 am by George Smith

Desperate to find some good news in China, ABC News ran this clip.

A Washington State candy-maker ships lots of something most Americans don’t particularly care for — Almond Roca.

Great demand for it in China, where it’s packaged as a luxury good under the name “Happy Family” has created the need for twenty five additional workers at the American facility.

They are also now growing fond of American wine, mixed with soda, it is said. That must be worth something.

The report does not tabulate how many jobs in manufacturing in the state were lost to businesses that went to China in the last few years. Although a look through applications for trade assistance adjustment might reveal such a thing.

Wonderful news from our ‘artisan economy’.

Big Win for Terrorists and US National Security Business 2.0

Posted in War On Terror at 9:49 am by George Smith

From the Associated Press today, news that an American security firm — unnamed — had used the Namibian police to try and put a test bomb — non-explosive, on a plane for Germany.

It reads:

A suspicious package found in a Namibian airport near bags bound for Munich was a device designed to test security and didn’t contain explosives, officials said Friday. One aviation official said the test was conducted by Namibian police.

Wednesday’s discovery of the package at Windhoek airport came the same day that Germany raised its terrorist alert level.

German security experts determined that the bag was a “real test case” made by an American firm to test security measures, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Friday.

“Most important is that there were no explosives in the bag and there was never any danger to the passengers,” de Maiziere said.

Namibian police confirmed his report but did not say who may have been testing security at Windhoek. An Air Namibia official, however, said it was Namibian police themselves who had conducted the test. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because it was a police matter.

Concern that international flights were once again being targeted by terrorists rose last month when two mail bombs were discovered being sent on cargo planes from Yemen to the U.S. One of them went through a German airport before being found in Britain.

Since the American corporate model with regards to national security is only concerned with making devices and using resources to constantly set up tests after al Qaeda tries something — which often fails — this is depressingly familiar. That it caused German security to jump is probably a cause for jubilation at someone’s business.

The wretched paradox is that there is now way more manpower, money and resources in US private sector business exploring such things than there are actual terrorists trying to do the real thing. al Qaeda could only wish to have such an infrastructure with freedom to operate.

DD wrote about it earlier here.

And the reason for this new whoopie cushion news is satirized in my video for “That Logistics.”

Things being the way they are, if I were a mediocre al Qaeda plotter I’d now be trying to find some mentally pliable and unfit recruit to carry a cardboard suppository or cartridge in his rectum. Not because it would actually reliably work but because of the news and reaction it would generate.

The suppository could be filled with something guaranteed to be debilitating by the time the al Qaeda man was on an airplane bound for Europe from some dreadful country where bribes are elementary.

In fact, our mastermind would want him to be found by western counter-terror men. So unreliability and chickening out mid-plot wouldn’t be such liabilities. In fact, if you could do it with two people at two different locations, that would be even better.

You know where I’m going with this. Where the sun don’t shine.

The reaction in the United States would be wonderful to watch unfold.

“See what I can make those people do to themselves,” the man would say to his comrades. Merriment all around.

11.18.10

More Alms for the Rich

Posted in Extremism, Stumble and Fail at 3:09 pm by George Smith

Alan Grayson, outgoing but still making points:

Nicholas Kristof:

I’m appalled by our growing wealth gaps because in my travels I see what happens in dysfunctional countries where the rich just don’t care about those below the decks. The result is nations without a social fabric or sense of national unity. Huge concentrations of wealth corrode the soul of any nation.

And then I see members of Congress in my own country who argue that it would be financially reckless to extend unemployment benefits during a terrible recession, yet they insist on granting $370,000 tax breaks to the richest Americans. I don’t know if that makes us a banana republic or a hedge fund republic, but it’s not healthy in any republic.

Saw it during the taking of the census. In review, all here.

So the GOP, and the usual Blue Dog fake Republicans, stopped extension of unemployment benefits, just in time for the holiday season. Of course, it’s well known they detest the last two thirds of A Christmas Carol.

The Pennsylvania fake Republican heevahavas — Jason Altmire, Chris Carney, and Tim Holden (of DD’s Schuylkill County) voted against their middle class constituents. Unemployment remains high in their regions, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. For example, the districts of Holden and Carney are in purple, the second highest level on the map.

How To Suck

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:27 am by George Smith

We’re all familiar with mediocrity and fail in the US of A.

But it’s always astonishing to see total dogshit presented as pr by the US military.

Here’s an example that makes the Air Force look gratuitously fucked up — by one of their own.

The guy can’t sing, can’t play guitar, has no sense of rhythm, is tone deaf and shitty at limericks and language. Also can’t make even thirty seconds of crisply smart video. It redefines the meaning of offal awful.

Of all the grenades I’ve asked you to jump on in this last few months, this is by far — the worst. From a promotion for Luke AFB in Arizona.

If anyone had sense, they’d muster whoever’s responsible out with a big chicken dinner idiot conduct discharge.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »