01.29.12

Drink your milkshake

Posted in Extremism, Phlogiston at 10:48 am by George Smith


Footnotes: Religious GOP extremism synonymous with being crazy AND unusually repellent.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is married to a lady who came from the same neighborhood I did in Schuylkill Country. We lived on the same street, her sisters were acquaintances, one in my class, and I occasionally had been in their house.

Watch closely and you’ll see actual heevahavas. If you’re a longtime reader you know what it means. If not, check the definition. It’s from the old Crypt Newsletter. In this case, the heevahava is not a Pennsylvania Dutch farm hand but an Englishman in that part of the race horse industry devoted to furthering genetics.


Editorial heavy lifting — Pine View Farm.

01.28.12

National security word cloud funnies

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 10:17 am by George Smith

From the content/word cloup app at GlobalSecurity.Org, in working over copy mirrored there.

Unless, maybe, you’re a fanboi of The Dangerous Room of Examining US Tech for Killing Other People, All Smaller and Poorer blog, you can smile at the accidental poetry software makes of a collection of DD-minted slurs and pejoratives used to more accurately describe the world of national security.

Moe is dead, of course. Persecuting Paupers, Maim People and National Security Business sound like good names for indie bands in some college town.

01.27.12

Defense cuts to cause boom in bombing paupers

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 1:52 pm by George Smith

If you have gold and your ass don’t smell/We won’t bomb you straight to hell.The National Anthem

No one will say it in formal circles: Use of drones outside the US is all about bombing paupers or — ahem — the impoverished places of the world, if something less blunt sounding is needed. That’s the US strategic plan coupled to the story on budget cuts. It’s a strategic triad with two of legs — drones and special forces — aimed at going after people who largely cannot defend themselves in any serious way, always poorer, weaker, and generally of different color and religion in desperate regions. And the third leg of the triad — the Navy — is aimed at people who definitely can shoot back, the Chinese. But whom we won’t get into a war with for the obvious reason that they make all our pipe and wires and telephones and computers and underwear and everything else except drones and most of the kit that the special forces use.

Here’s a thought question: Do you really think those places where drones now operate freely threaten the existence of the civilian populace of the US in any meaningful way?

Exclude incitements to commit violence against Americans from Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia.

Exclude kidnappings by pauper/pirates unless you actually believe such things may eventually threaten people in, say, Pasadena, CA. These are bad but people get shot near my neighborhood by gang members about once a year and you don’t see the governor going off and demanding pinpoint assassinations from the air in retaliation now, do you?

What are the ramifications, not internally but worldwide, of being seen as using remote-control technology to erase handfuls of paupers (and civilians who are in the wrong place at the wrong time) in places where people don’t have a chance of shooting them down? Because, like, they have no money to afford a modern military for national defense.

On a scale, with 1 being an image as a villain and 10 that of someone someone riding to the rescue, where do you think the current usage and future trending of drones falls?

Discuss where domestic drone operations are necessary but only where they aren’t already used.

Exclude use on the Mexican border which also falls under chasing paupers. However, do discuss how deep into Mexican airspace drones operate or should be allowed to go.

Do you think drones are necessary, for example, over southern California highways, to monitor traffic? If so, how would a drone alleviate bumper to bumper traffic during hours of peak congestion?

If there was a natural disaster, how are drones superior to a helicopter or manned plane, for example, if looking for people stranded by rising levels of water?

Are drones necessary to hunt down meth labs in abandoned shacks and barns in the hinterlands? Is this a new innovation/application or just using a more expensive technology to chase paupers?

On a scale, 1 being “it’s just chasing/persecuting paupers” and 10 being it’s “a new way to keep everyone safe”, rate what you think the increasing domestic use of drones means.

On a scale, 1 being “it’s just wealth preservation for arms manufacturers” and 10 being “it’s a cutting edge of innovation and technology and needs to be supported,” rate what you think the desire for more drones means.

Remember what I said about nobody in formal circles coming right out and saying the strategy is to bomb paupers? It’s true. Over ten years they’ve come up with another way to describe it.

Here’s an example from what you’ve come to know as the Empire’s Dog Feces beat, from the famous Internet magazine/blog, The Dangerous Room of Examining US Tech for Killing Other People, All Smaller and Poorer (no link):

When Adm. Eric Olson, the former leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, wanted to explain where his forces were going, he would show audiences a photo that NASA took, titled “The World at Night.” The lit areas showed the governed, stable, orderly parts of the planet. The areas without lights were the danger zones — the impoverished, the power vacuums, the places overrun with militants that prompted the attention of elite U.S. troops. And few places were darker, in Olson’s eyes, than East Africa.

Instead of “The World at Night,” it calls out for an acronym, something national security staffers, wonks and military men could grab onto.

First I thought of Defending Against Those Who Hate Us For Our Freedom (to Bomb Them). But it has too many consonants to acronym-ize. And it doesn’t quite cover all the people who don’t know we’re coming for them yet because they’re not having money and electricity are markers for America-threatening terrorism.

Instead, here’s an alternative: the GWOP, or Global War on Paupers. It had a neatness to it, superseding — as it does, the Global War on Terror.


Inspired by:

Domestic Use of Drones is Well Underway — at Secrecy blog.

01.26.12

You are dirt. Get it?

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 7:38 pm by George Smith

From Tom Friedman, the exclamation — which isn’t new to him — that you must, from here on out, be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Or go to hell.

That’s how it is in his world.

Well, actually you can fail to be be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But you should be able to work for almost free, have nothing, get sent to the emergency room because the work place is so asphyxiated and anoxic, or be poisoned or blown up in a superfactory in another country. And like it.

Or you can work for free on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Yeah, really, there are tons of “human intelligence tasks” on Amazon/MTurk that pay $0.00. Presumably, you’re encouraged to do them so you learn how to not fuck up and can build your HIT number so that your qualifications and experience are enough to get you into the rarefied environs of those that pay 2 – 17 cents per job.

Friedman, in the Times:

In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.


And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Last April, Annie Lowrey of Slate wrote about a start-up called “E la Carte” that is out to shrink the need for waiters and waitresses: The company “has produced a kind of souped-up iPad that lets you order and pay right at your table. The brainchild of a bunch of M.I.T. engineers, the nifty invention, known as the Presto, might be found at a restaurant near you soon. … You select what you want to eat and add items to a cart. Depending on the restaurant’s preferences, the console could show you nutritional information, ingredients lists and photographs. You can make special requests, like ‘dressing on the side’ or ‘quintuple bacon.’ When you’re done, the order zings over to the kitchen, and the Presto tells you how long it will take for your items to come out. … Bored with your companions? Play games on the machine. When you’re through with your meal, you pay on the console, splitting the bill item by item if you wish and paying however you want. And you can have your receipt e-mailed to you. … Each console goes for $100 per month. If a restaurant serves meals eight hours a day, seven days a week, it works out to 42 cents per hour per table — making the Presto cheaper than even the very cheapest waiter.”

Since this was invented by boffins from MIT it’s already much better than the elimination of polio in the United States. I mean, creating an app to rid restaurants of people who already earn crap is a whole lot more cool than giving away a cure to save people from iron lungs and crutches.

Anyway, I can imagine tens of thousands of people who would really like this all the time. All with iKit.

None of whom I ever want to meet. Although I may have actually met a couple in the last ten years. But we knew how to avoid each other from then on.

Which just goes to show Friedman is absolutely right. Eating unencumbered by others with your face down in multiple computing devices is common in lotsa places now. More fool you if you find such people complete boors.

You’re just envious.


Still awesomely on the money, for art.

01.25.12

iSteve for God

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:11 am by George Smith

From Mitch Daniels, another of the GOP”s querulous old men, so white and wispy you could almost see through him, last night: “The late Steve Jobs — what a fitting name he had — created more of them than all those stimulus dollars the President borrowed and blew.”

From the New York Times, re the special on iKit manufacturing in China:

“Apple employs 43,000 people in the United States and 20,000 overseas …Many more people work for Apple’s contractors: an additional 700,000 people engineer, build and assemble iPads, iPhones and Apple’s other products. But almost none of them work in the United States. Instead, they work for foreign companies in Asia, Europe and elsewhere, at factories that almost all electronics designers rely upon to build their wares.”

A few months before Jobs died he, along with Mark Zuckerberg — another potential God appointee — were invited to dinner with the President. To talk about how to make jobs.

Then, from here:

Fresh off the news, President Obama is bowing before consulting the two smartest men in the world today, Nobel laureate/Pulitzer prize winner Mark Zuckerberg and King of All Music, Steve Jobs.

The goal: How to create more jobs.

Jobs, whose name is most appropriate because he has made many many jobs in China, will probably tell the President the problem is the large number of no-skill sitting around people in the US.

“Stop counting them, Mr. President!” he may advise. Future growth lies in more Harmonica or You’re Fired! apps and what not, particularly now that one of the rival cell phones brags it has 60,000 of them. Sixty thousand!

Nobel laureate/Pulitzer winner Mark Zuckerberg may tell the President that to create jobs … we must unleash the creative power of every American to make more social networking sites.

Neither of these guys are interested in making jobs for all these baggy and lumpy no-skill sitting around people.

I feel fine despising everything Apple. However, the urge to deify and mythologize those who don’t quite deserve it, anything that employs bad examples to further the culture of lickspittle, has always been strong in the American majority. Of which I’m distinctly not a part.

Mitch Daniels wasn’t alone last night.

The President invoked iGod iSteve, if in a slightly different context:

“It means we should support everyone who’s willing to work; and every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.”

Hmmm, wanting to become the next person to take advantage of mass sweatshop-contracting for consumer electronics manufacturing in China, the next person to destroy an industry for the sake of purchasing a small piece of white plastic kit, the next person with an idea of progress that means writing millions of trivial software applications for instant gratification on hand-held networked computing devices …

And this slightly blasphemous cartoon is apt.

Related: Earlier in the series — iSteve for King

Apple, Apple uber alles, uber alles in der Welt

Chipping away at it

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Decline and Fall at 8:23 am by George Smith

I was asked what I thought of some minor federal court judge’s ruling that a suspect in a criminal case can be compelled to decrypt their hard disk.

I took the dim view:

George Smith, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, believes the judge’s ruling, although “commensurate with the times we live in,” not only infringes on people’s rights, but also sets a very dangerous precedent, one that extends government intrusion well into a person’s private life …

“There is now a long history of governments using and misusing private digital materials against citizens,” Smith told SecurityNewsDaily. “Because this is a small-time criminal case is not an even half decent reason to attempt to nullify that.”

Presented with the hypothesis that an ecrypted hard drive might be analogous to a wall safe containing incriminating documents, Smith dismissed it.

“You can keep a lot of your life, or at least a very good description of your years of personal communications, hobbies, work, loves, vices, likes, dislikes and activities from start to finish, etc., on your hard disk and removable drives these days,” he said. “You can’t keep your life in a wall safe.”

For clarification, some law-and-order desire for a conviction in what amounts to a trivial criminal case, the defendant is accused of being a small town mortgage scam artist, is no reason to take chip away everyone’s right to privacy as enforced by personal encryption.

01.24.12

Cult of EMP Crazy chief eclipses Gordon Gekko

Posted in Extremism, Phlogiston at 4:53 pm by George Smith

The Mitt Romney Blues is the soundtrack and you had it here a couple weeks ago. And if it had been Jon Stewart who made it instead of me, you’d have told everyone you know to stick it in their iKit.

With a cynical little push from Newt Gingrich, the Republican voters who aren’t in the 1 percent are figuring out it’s easy to despise the vulture capitalist symbol-of-the-system who jokes about being unemployed, patronizingly insists corporations are people, likes firing people and hides his investment income in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.

It’s a bounty of riches in SchadenFreude.

Image from this piece at DailyKos.

Choose one epic case of Unpleasant Crazy Scapegoater from column A …

Or the Guy Who Fired You and acts like the jokers in Damn It Feels Good to Be a Banksta, from B.

01.23.12

Misallocation of national resources: Bombing paupers, the graph

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Decline and Fall, War On Terror at 10:55 pm by George Smith

In comments from the last post tagged to the Made In China tab Chuck pointed to comprehensive National Science Foundation/National Science Board analyses of trends and statistics in US research and development as compared to the rest of the developed world.

That link is here.

The above plot, just one from many, clearly shows the US national research and development commitment to homeland security and bombing paupers worldwide as a result of the war on terror. It is the only area of research funding not particularly affected by the worldwide economic downturn. Although a leveling is seen in the last two years, the overall level of commitment to finding new applications in bombing and hounding others less fortunate outside national borders remains quite high. (The larger original version, if you don’t know how to use the browser magnifier, is here.)

Non-military research funding from the federal government shows a clear spike associated with Barack Obama’s stimulus package. When the stimulus abated, in comparison to allocations for bombing paupers, spending plunged.

Howard supports Gordon Gekko

Posted in Ted Nugent at 6:25 pm by George Smith

Just in time for the tanking of Mitt Romney’s support and his acquisition of the dubious image of a querulous rich man whinging about class war and envy while stashing his earnings in the Cayman Islands …

Ted Nugent comes out in the WaTimes for him.

Excerpted:

By the time you read this, Mitt Romney may have released his tax returns. Let’s hope not.


The real reason Mr. Romney is being pressured to release his tax returns is because his fellow GOP presidential candidates, his hateful critics and crazy Demoncrats live to wage class warfare against him for being successful. This is so very wrong.


There is this toxic, anti-American idea that has surfaced that financial success is something that should be questioned, maligned and condemned and is somehow malicious. This is dangerous and dumb.

Nugent has been wrong every time he’s commented on GOP presidential contenders. Around a year ago he found Donald Trump intriguing. Months later he endorsed Rick Perry. These sallies went well.

If I were a betting man I’d almost tempted to take the position that you’ve no chance to be President when Ted Nugent attempts to ride to the rescue because a rival is winning by painting you as a corporate vulture.


If you’re a later-comer and don’t understand my references to Ted as “Howard,” it’s from the a character in The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

Gone to China. Period.

Posted in Made in China at 2:33 pm by George Smith

Yeah, corporate America does hate you. Proven by the New York Times, if you’re still one of the saps.

From today, the must read:

Known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

[Nothing] like Foxconn City exists in the United States.

The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was stuck in a river of employees streaming past. “The scale is unimaginable,” he said.

Foxconn employs nearly 300 guards to direct foot traffic so workers are not crushed in doorway bottlenecks. The facility’s central kitchen cooks an average of three tons of pork and 13 tons of rice a day. While factories are spotless, the air inside nearby teahouses is hazy with the smoke and stench of cigarettes.

Foxconn Technology has dozens of facilities in Asia and Eastern Europe, and in Mexico and Brazil, and it assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s consumer electronics for customers like Amazon, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Sony.

“They could hire 3,000 people overnight,” said Jennifer Rigoni, who was Apple’s worldwide supply demand manager until 2010, but declined to discuss specifics of her work. “What U.S. plant can find 3,000 people overnight and convince them to live in dorms?”

Steve Jobs died poorly, exuding contempt for everything not his way or the highway until the bitter end as a withered but still mean husk, delivering the blunt message to President Obama that iKit manufacturing was never coming back to the US.

For the Times, that message is drawn out to indicate the same holds for much domestic manufacturing.

Corporate America de-industrialized the US. Now the infrastructure and everything else needed to be competitive is completely gone.

It exists in China and other countries and there is no way to rival it.

Weeks ago reader Chuck brought this up in the comments section of an earlier post. With the exception of arms the US can’t do manufacturing anymore.

The New York Times deals with the high end of manufacturing, describing the power Chinese industry can bring to bear on complicated things like iKit.

It goes without saying Steve Jobs was reprehensible when it came to labor. iKit is built under conditions which create despair, in a system which cannot be done in the US precisely because it’s the pinnacle of capitalist sweatshopping, government support and mass material resources.

We can rival despair. It’s the super-factories, resources and will to protect industry that’s gone for good.

There is much talk about the employment of Chinese “engineers” in the superfactories. But these “engineers” only have a bit more than a high school education. Certainly, Americans are capable of the same jobs. But the structure is gone, recreated much better there.

There’s one industry that didn’t fall to the great removal. You know it. Arms production.

In the US, it’s protected. Arms production doesn’t have to be efficient like the making of iKit.

Making Predator drones and their follow-ons is not subject to the fast turnarounds and tyrannical equipment modification demands of the consumer electronics industry. Arms manufacturers can do whatever they want and their employees don’t have Steve Jobs to worry about. They just have to worry about making sure Congress doesn’t slash the
budget too much.

There’s a short comedy movie in showing an alternative near future where an aggrandizing asshole scornful of everyone not like him, someone like Steve Jobs, insists all drones and guided missiles be insanely great at arms trade shows. He’s subsequently put in charge of defense procurement. And promptly sends it all to China, much to the delight of wealthy shareholders and petty toadies in the shit nations we sell the stuff to.

Might as well do the entire middle class on the spit. Why stop at just non-military?

“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” economist Jared Bernstein told the newspaper. “If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”

Made five or six years ago, this video, embedded last week, makes a joke about America not knowing how to “pull pipe.”

However, the middle class knows all about being forced to suck it.

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