Thug security fluorishes when the princes worry

Posted in Decline and Fall at 11:12 am by George Smith

One wonders if this is noted in some NYC goon security firm dossier. Click it up a few times dear readers, perhaps every one makes them take notes and snapshots for their PowerPoint presentations.

When the masters of the universe think the paupers are finally out to get them, they make calls to the local private goons.

Wanted to get to this last week, however, still not too late, from the NY Times:

The ultra-rich bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity executives of New York City have long enlisted private security firms to help safeguard them and their wealth. But as the mood on Main Street turns increasingly hostile, New York’s financial titans are cranking their security measures up to 11. For the high-end security firms that provide the moneyed elite with specialty services like around-the-clock bodyguards and elaborate home security systems, Occupy Wall Street has been a stimulus package all its own.

“Executive protection, as the guard-the-rich industry is known, got an initial jolt from the financial crisis of 2008. Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, got permission from a local review board to build a six-foot-high security gate outside his Hamptons house in April 2008, the month after Bear Stearns collapsed,” the story adds.

Other vignettes:

Another client, a C-suite executive at a large Wall Street firm, recently asked [Mr. Viollis, a security for the plutocrats man] to send undercover agents to Zuccotti Park to find out if the protesters were planning to harm him or his colleagues. (Mr. Viollis said he would probably decline the request.)

One executive contacted Insite requesting help planning his escape from the United States in the event the federal government was overthrown, said Howard A. Shapiro, Insite’s chief technology officer. The executive wanted to know how much gold to keep on hand and how to escape the United States by submarine in the event of a major incident.

Ex-CIA, ex-Secret Service, and military men populate the field of goon security for the wealthy. It’s a bit of a scientific business, notes the story.

An ex-Secret Service man makes the observation that the presence of so much public resentment and crowds make it an easier step for someone to begin a more focused research job aimed at ferreting out the habits and locations of the banksters.

It’s worth adding that crowds with pitchforks, historically (and very recently) don’t seize people they don’t know on sight or who aren’t in uniforms designated for select treatment.

Which still leaves out all of Wall Street. None of the Blankfeins and Jamie Dimons of this country have the face recognition of a Moe Ghadafi. (It’s interesting to note that the habits of such, which usually involve plastering their pics everywhere in country, becomes a serious liability when the iron hand of internal security disappears.)

Until you have such recognition, chances are you’ll be pulled from a culvert or waylaid on the way to the limousine are probably remote. Which also explains why the white trash commonly seen ad nauseam in US televised criminal proceedings inevitably require police protection post courthouse.

Logically, public figures — people constantly on television and in magazines — have much more to worry about from crowd-source menaces.

Which goes back to the interpretation of that, elucidated in the Lloyd Blankfein Rule.: If no one knows your name, and many still don’t, you still retain some security based on anonymity no matter the level of general rage directed at your profession.

Couldn’t resist being a jerk as the end approached

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 8:05 am by George Smith

From the wire, iSteve on the President:

Steve Jobs, known for his aggressive and sometimes prickly personality, didn’t hold back when he met President Obama in 2010: The Apple CEO warned Obama he wasn’t going to win re-election. Obama was jeopardizing his re-election prospects because of what Jobs took to be a pervasive anti-business climate in his administration. Jobs cited excessive federal regulations …

“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” Jobs said during a meeting with the president that took place a year prior to Jobs’ death related to pancreatic cancer …

Though his wife told him that Obama “was really psyched to meet with you,” Jobs insisted on the personal invitation, and the standoff lasted for five days. When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt …

After laying into the White House’s purported anti-business outlook, Jobs offered to help Obama repair the rift by arranging meeting between the president and a group of CEOs. When the guest list began to grow, Jobs reportedly resolved to back out of the gathering. Instead, he attended, though he poo-pooed the fancy menu.

Perhaps this is unfair. iSteve was, after all, from this POV just being himself. Uniformly lacking in grace or warmth.

In the outpour over iSteve’s untimely passing most of the pieces read here omitted any of the major fails in his career and how he was handed numerous opportunities to recover.

It was all about his genius, vision and force of will.

This brings back my memory of Mac machines, used for page design work at the Morning Call newspaper, during the period when Bill Gates and Microsoft were blowing Apple off the wrestling mat of personal computing.

All the editors and grunt workers hated the Apples. This was in stark opposition to the general received wisdom that journalists and creative types loved everything Apple.

The machines crashed regularly, were obdurately unsuitable for what they’d been sold for, and were — literally — “da bomb.”

Copy editors joked ruefully about the Mac’s unrecoverable system error message. The bomb would show up and all work would come to a screeching halt, all that had been worked on, toast. It was worse than Windows machines.

And, of course, there’s the drummer in the DD band’s small business network of Apple machines and iPods. Because of my regular exposure to it I never cease to be amazed at how poor all the iTunes-ready music sounds. All freeloaded from Limewire before it was quashed, even coming out of a high-end living room surround stereo system. The tech equivalent of hooking up a Sixties or early Seventies Panasonic radio to a Heathkit tube home stereo amp and basking in the glory of modernity and elegant design, or something.

And there’s this rather wry cartoon at Pine View Farm.


Can I pay you in gum? (Notes from the Bezos virtual sweat shop)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 1:15 pm by George Smith

Today’s notes from the Jeff Bezos virtual sweatshop known as Mechanical Turk furnish more odium.

Whenever you think you’ll just bust if things don’t get more amoral and depraved in pursuit of profit in corporate America, there’s Mechanical Turn to cheer you up and reward.

First question: Who actually does jobs that pay $.02, take fifteen minutes to an hour, and are furnished by anonymous employers who threaten you with blacklisting and ejection from the service if you don’t do right?

Yes, it’s true.

At the Bezos virtual sweat shop you can actually be run off for not being an up-to-snuff slave human machine. You can pick up a horribly blemished resume/HIT report card for being deemed insufficient at jobs which pay pennies.

The Bezos virtual sweat shop has also created a sub-contracting industry for third party virtual sweatshopping. The most obvious example is in verbatim audio transcription.

This company wouldn’t exist, it seems, without Mechanical Turk.

On its website, we read:

Unlike other transcription companies which rely purely on human based transcription, we enable our human transcribers to be more effective through the use of our proprietary web-based transcription workflow management system.

Proprietary workflow management system = hundreds of postings for transcribing the audio flatus of corporate America’s infinite meetings on Mechanical Turk.

“Our transcriptionists must go through our online scoring system, which tests their transcription ability, provides feedback, and helps them improve their transcription quality until it is at the highest quality as measured over the course of a variety of jobs,” it continues.

This means the subcontractor uses the Amazon system and site to run you off should you prove to be an inaccurate or otherwise poor intellectual sweat laborer.

Another great category of work, which you should probably stay away from if you’re a sweat-laborer, is article creation.

“Write an article containing x-number of words on [you name it]” they read.

Most of these appear to be ads by a variety of scumbags in the business of uploading Astro-turfed content pushing businesses, services and products on the web.

You can tell they’re scumbags, and that they expect scumbags to work for them by the screechy commands, demands and veiled threats inside the solicitation.

The commands warn the sweat laborer not to “plagiarize” because the content will be checked by “plagiarism checker” which seems to mostly indicate the employers are trying to generate stuff that won’t get downgraded by Google search robots in spam blogs and miscellaneous insta-sites. Rather than prevent people from gaming the job.

Since these things pay almost nothing why would anyone game them wholesale, anyway?

Also in this category, the jobs for virtually nothing in which one writes phony posts and articles for web places trying to gin up the appearance of actual use and enjoyment.

One of the Bezos sweat shop’s core industries appears then to be generation of content for cheap for the poisoning of Google search.

Of course, there are some interesting tasks.

Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with university studies.

Academics have not yet lost all their moral underpinnings in 2011 America and research ethics prevent them from getting involved in fraud, cruelty, sadism and capitalizing wholesale on the desperation of others.

Solicitations to take surveys from university departments, or to take part in quick social cognition and decision-making research experiments, are straightforward and honest. And what small compensation they offer is always on the high end of the MTurk scale.

One such Mturk-mediated survey on political attitudes was aimed at determining the test taker’s beliefs vis-a-vis human rights and fairness in this country. And soliciting attitudes over potential protest and violent rebellion against the government.

Imagine that! Fascinating!

DD even found a rock critic/altie mag editor using the virtual sweat shop to get an interview transcribed!

How to cope with being in the slave labor market

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 9:08 am by George Smith

You can’t satirize this place anymore.

Here’s a jobs advice program on how to buck up if you’re working at under the poverty level (compete with a photo of peanuts on top of a paycheck):

We’ve all pondered quitting our jobs. But unfortunately, for many people the choice is not that easy. After all, having a job means earning a paycheck. But what if that paycheck barely pays enough to cover your bills and expenses?

Whether you’re truly underpaid or not, if you’re barely earning enough money to pay the bills, your choices of what to do are limited. But continuing to work in a job where you’re barely making ends meet can cause burnout and other issues.

The recommendations:

Ask for a raise, take on another slave labor job and — the best — “adopt an attitude of gratitude.”

“Rather than surrounding yourself with negative and unproductive energy, try being grateful for your current situation …” it reads.

I’d ask what manner of swine comes up with this stuff but it’s only rhetorical.

Speaking of the slave labor market, one of the prime exponents of it, Wal-Mart, in the news for more kindnesses today:

Prices aren’t the only thing being slashed at Wal-Mart.

Amid rising costs, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and the nation’s largest private employer, said Friday that it is cutting health benefits for part-time workers and raising premiums for many of its full-time staff.

Cue best commercial ever: “Can I pay you in gum?”

Laborer, sniffling: “No one ever pays me in gum.”

I kinda like it here

Posted in Decline and Fall, Extremism at 9:01 am by George Smith

Here’s one for the Euro-readers who may have no idea how truly nuts half the political structure is in this country.

Fresh from the Washington Times, the DC paper of the GOP, on where I live:

“Mexifornia” is a case in point. California once was the symbol of the American dream. Today, it is sinking into a Third World abyss. Among large parts of Los Angeles, English can no longer be heard. Some neighborhoods are no-go areas. They are occupied by Mexican gangs and drug cartels. In the Golden State’s public schools, from kindergarten through the third grade, almost 2 out of 5 students have English as their second language. In the Central Valley, the state’s agricultural region, one can go for hundreds of miles and hear only one language: Spanish …

Yet Americans remain strangely silent. We are witnessing the emergence of a multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual Tower of Babel. Unless it is demolished, it will tear America apart. Today, Texas students are being told to pledge allegiance to Mexico and sing its anthem. Tomorrow, they may be told that the U.S. flag and the Constitution of our Founding Fathers represent a foreign regime occupying foreign soil.

Welcome to the United States of Mexico.

They really would like to see Hellfire missiles on the Predator drones at the border.


Americans stiff Alabama farm labor

Posted in Decline and Fall at 3:51 pm by George Smith

Not quite willing to take a backbreaking job that pays only a bit above the national poverty level, a news piece today has Alabama farmers complaining Americans won’t do the work illegals and other immigrants will do in the fields.

Alabama’s anti-illegal law has resulted in a severe agricultural employee shortage as experienced workers have fled the fields and state.

From CBS News:

Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his Hispanic workers leave after Alabama’s tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn’t worked out: They show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon. Some quit after a single day.

In Alabama and other parts of the country, farmers must look beyond the nation’s borders for labor because many Americans simply don’t want the backbreaking, low-paying jobs immigrants are willing to take …

Part of the problem, which isn’t baldly stated, is that many perceive the work to be slave labor.

It pays very poorly, is backbreaking and comes with significant physical hazard over the course of growing season — like sizable exposure to pesticides/toxic chemicals, dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Such jobs also have no benefits.

In the story, the growers see things differently. And this has seemingly led them to think they can inspire people to come into fields by calling out Americans as lazy, worthless and “not physically fit.”

In fact, as an expert interviewed for the story notes, American farms have essentially turned back the clock to the Forties.

“This is a sector and an industry … that a long time ago, going back to the 1940s and probably before that was abandoned,” the man told CBS. “It was abandoned to foreign workers.”

The base wage for an experienced field picker is defined in this way:

A crew of four Hispanics can earn about $150 each by picking 250-300 boxes of tomatoes in a day, said Jerry Spencer, of Grow Alabama, which purchases and sells locally owned produce. A crew of 25 Americans recently picked 200 boxes — giving them each $24 for the day.

The new story is determinedly obtuse on what this means, or at least the growers are.

This comes to $750 a week, or a bit over $570/week after taxes in Alabama, for an experienced employee who produces a high rate of return under the toughest conditions.

And that comes to $27,648.00 per year with no benefits. which is about only $5,000 over the poverty line for a family of four, according to US data.

There are three — maybe four, options, of course. Raise wages. Automate. Try waiting until people are really desperate. Or wait until the anti-immigration law is perhaps shot down by the US government and go back to hiring illegals.

Only two of these fit in a moral society (or are a right thing to do).

Transformations in rock n roll style: LSD

Posted in Rock 'n' Roll at 2:45 pm by George Smith

LSD, short for Life Sex & Death was a band that enjoyed a mercilessly brief bit of publicity in 1991 just as DD was arriving in SoCal.

The band’s hook: An alleged homeless man named Stanley fronting a fairly regular-sounding LA pop metal act. The album was called Silent Majority, was on Reprise, and spawned a couple videos, one of which, entitled “Tank,” enjoyed some popularity on Beavis & Butthead.

It was a favorite of mine, trending toward so stupid it had to be done by a few possessing some innate cleverness. It’s heard to best effect on the song, Some Fuckin’ Shit Ass. (Google it, found on YouTube, where the video shot at Cain’s Ballroom leaves a bit to be desired in sound quality.)

The most interesting and hilarious bits re LSD are shown by juxtaposing two videos.

The first, featuring a fellow named Chris Stann on vocals, was obviously made well before LSD made it to Hollywood. It’s bog standard hair metal complete with dancing girls in scanties. Wait for the singer to appear.

The next video of the same band is a year or so later.

For it, the singer is the same guy rewritten, made over as a stagy homeless man, a gimmick the record companies in LA found irresistible. Gone is the spandex and big hair, replaced by a tattered bum suit, black spectacles and the mien and physicality of someone mentally ill. The dance moves, however, are the same.

And so is the wireless microphone with what looks like a broken flashlight attached to the bottom of it.

It’s a fabulous transformation in rock style! And as with most things I like the general public recoiled in horror. Pearls before swine.


Sleep Dealer: the movie, not the GOP debate

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Decline and Fall, Extremism, Psychopath & Sociopath at 12:15 pm by George Smith

Rick Perry would use Predator drones to secure the border. Herman Cain would use alligators and electrical fences. The unemployed and poor could be booed. Before we hit them with guided missiles. (Even Joe Arpaio blanched a little at this today when questioned by Martin Bashir at lunchtime on MSNBC. We can’t give people a death sentence, or something to that effect, he stammered out. Oh, no?)

Anyway, Mr. Rick has missed that boat by at least two years although General Atomics must have certainly been thrilled to hear him say it.

And drones for everything had a hand in inspiring Sleep Dealer, a foreign film with a great premise: Use of drone camera live streaming of people being Hellfire’d in reality entertainment shows in the US, use of Mexican labor to operate robots in America, and US multi-nationals buying up all water in Mexico, gouging for it, and using remote-controlled machine gun posts to kill people trying to steal it.

Sadly, over the course of 90 minutes or so the movie just wasn’t very good.

The trailer makes it seem better which may indicate it could have used a good editing.

Predator drone used in border patrol at 1:45.

Now, The National Anthem would be a great tune to use as part of the soundtrack for a dystopian reality-based movie along the lines of Sleep Dealer. Reality-based because you can’t satirize this country anymore. Anything you think might work at that is already happening.

Anyway, you’d pay to see my idea executed as a movie. I just know it.

Previously on the subject.

The new Commies are coming!

Posted in Extremism at 10:28 am by George Smith

From Strangelove:

General Jack Ripper: “Your Commie has no regard for human life, not even of his own … For this reason men, I want to impress upon you the need for extreme watchfulness. The enemy may come individually, or in strength. He may even appear in the form of our own troops. But however we must stop him.”

Via tip from Pine View Farm, this item on the new red menace and what Tea Party good Americans must do to stop it:

Resolved that: The Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate, in alliance with a global Progressive socialist movement, have participated in what appears to be a globalist socialist agenda of redistribution of wealth …

Resolved that: President Obama has seized what amount to dictatorial powers to bypass our Congress …

Resolved that: Our President, the Democrats-Socialists, most of the media, and most of those from Hollywood, have now encouraged and supported “Occupy” demonstrations in our streets, which are now being perpetrated across the globe, and which are being populated by various marxists, socialists and even communists, and are protesting against business, private property ownership and capitalism, something I thought I’d never see in my country, in my lifetime …

I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped.

Duqu virus derived from Stuxnet? How’s and why’s of virus proliferation

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Cyberterrorism at 9:04 am by George Smith

Earlier in the week some clown at the Washington Post called the advent of the Stuxnet virus the “Hiroshima” of cyberspace.

Yesterday’s news of the Duqu virus generated some queries to your host. And if the world computer virus proliferation network works the way it always has, soon some windbag will have to talk about the cyberspace equivalent of a massive thermonuclear exchange.

However, to make this one short, I’ll describe one of the basics of computer virus proliferation.

Once out, there is no controlling what others might do to your creation. So, at this point it cannot be known with absolute certainty if Duqu’s creators were Stuxnet’s.

In any case, I’m sure the media will fill up with all kinds of spontaneously-generated theories on the subject.

The nut of my argument is this:

The history of malware generation and proliferation tells us that once a certain piece is in circulation others build upon it. In fact, there has always been a great enthusiasm for doing so.

Therefore, malicious s code eventually either gets distributed or becomes an open book to those in the malware art interested in adopting pieces of it for their own purposes.

It becomes game for others to analyze and use.

Stuxnet was widely distributed to many computer security experts. Many of them do contract work for government agencies, labor that would perhaps require a variety of security clearances and which would involve doing what would be seen by others to be black hat in nature. When that happened all bets were off.

So, to summarize, once a thing is in world circulation it is not protected or proprietary property. Such malicious code may contain hindrances to copying or reverse engineering but these can be overcome given enough effort. Add to this the fact that source code for malware has never been secure. It always becomes something coveted by many, often in direct proportion to its fame.

Therefore, it would not be surprising given the Byzantine and
secretive interlinked nature of this world, that Stuxnet code had leaked, even if only in bits and pieces.

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