05.28.12

Flame virus makes great press release

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 9:14 am by George Smith

From Eugene Kaspersky:

Kaspersky Lab announces the discovery of a highly sophisticated malicious program that is actively being used as a cyber weapon attacking entities in several countries. The complexity and functionality of the newly discovered malicious program exceed those of all other cyber menaces known to date.

The malware was discovered by Kaspersky Lab’s experts during an investigation prompted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The malicious program, detected as Worm.Win32.Flame by Kaspersky Lab’s security products, is designed to carry out cyber espionage. It can steal valuable information, including but not limited to computer display contents, information about targeted systems, stored files, contact data and even audio conversations …

Although the features of Flame differ compared with those of previous notable cyber weapons such as Duqu and Stuxnet, the geography of attacks, use of specific software vulnerabilities, and the fact that only selected computers are being targeted all indicate that Flame belongs to the same category of super-cyberweapons.

Commenting on uncovering Flame, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO and co-founder of Kaspersky Lab, said: “The risk of cyber warfare has been one of the most serious topics in the field of information security for several years now.

A few additional notes:

1. It would appear you can hide your malware longer if it is designed to specifically attack only pariah nations like Iran and Sudan, the latter which has nothing worth stealing by cyber-espionage, anyway. But eventually, even though it takes awhile, the virus will always screw up or splatter and wind up somewhere else. Like Hungary. Oops. Sorry ’bout that.

2. Therefore countries like Iran are still very poor at cybersecurity. They may remain that way due to the nature of the regimes, leadership and really lousy social fit with networked computing, which is directly inimical to their interests and way of doing things. (Notorious braggarts: “The Iranian government said Tuesday it has produced an antivirus program capable of fighting what computer experts are calling ‘the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed’ …)

3. Flame was probably discovered because it eventually did spread onto non-target systems in Israel or elsewhere causing unspecified problems noted by the “International Telecommunication Union.”

4. Every virus worthy of a press release, discovered infecting the sensitive computers of western enemies, like Iran, is a supervirus of astounding complexity and another proof of the growing terrible menace of cyberwar.

5. Discovery of these things is good for generating interest and international publicity for anti-virus firms. Therefore they will compete more vigorously in the doing of it. Which is a back-handed social benefit because it will more quickly spoil cyberwar and harassment campaigns launched by the military and intelligence agencies of the west.

Memorial Day

Posted in Permanent Fail, War On Terror at 8:30 am by George Smith

The general American attitude toward war: Our troops are the greatest as long as I don’t have to serve and I promise to make appreciative mouth noises or go to parades on key days of remembrance … The honest approach: Admitting you don’t give a rat’s ass about Memorial Day as long as you get hot dogs and hamburgers. I don’t buy the argument that anyone’s fought for my freedoms in the last ten years.

The military, our political leadership, and the people all wanted a fighting force that was unrepresentative of the nation and only a sliver of the population. One that would insulate the country from Viet Nam-style war protest because the sacrifice is not shared.

And that’s what they have.

And this is impolite and churlish but accurate:

The US military, despite being the largest, most well-equipped and capitalized of any in world history, is BAD. It smashes weakling countries and bombs the guilty as well as the innocent who have nothing in the desperate places of the world, delivering it all with a special brand of American pomposity that tolerates no soul-searching or regret.

It is thought to be led by men deemed the best and the brightest. So best and bright the majority of Americans cannot name one general, admiral, or even the guy who led the force that invaded Iraq a decade ago.

And, finally, making my point, Elisabeth Bumiller at the New York Times, interviewing officers, whose names you don’t recognize and won’t remember, who have written books no one will read who isn’t required to as part of a West Point course, drawn from battles no one who wasn’t there knows about. (Note that we’ve been at war so long a child who lost a father on 9/11 is now graduating from cadet school. That’s serious evidence of fail.)

If these guys are scholars of anything making arguments worth consideration by anyone outside their insular profession of national war-making, I’m Ernest Hemingway.


Good news, lads! Good news. It’s Memorial Day.

Even the chainsaw’s made in China

Posted in Made in China at 7:57 am by George Smith

Morning unintentionally hilarious mail:

Dear Sir & Madam,

Wish you enjoy a great day!

This is Zhejiang Boltool Tools Co.,Ltd. from China. We are mainly specializing in the production of garden tools and power tools, such as chain saw, brush cutter, angle grinder, electric hammer, circular saw, sander and so on. You can visit our website … for detailed information.

Here are some pictures about our products.


They’ve mistook me for someone who cares.

If a sprinkler head stub wrench or a toilet seat from China fails, it’s no big deal. But if a chainsaw fails unpredictably …


The original China toilet seat, blistered after one week out of the box.

05.27.12

FAT MAN

Posted in Extremism at 9:39 pm by George Smith

Krugman goes off on New Jersey governor Chris Christie:

Quick quiz: What’s a good five-letter description of Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, that ends in “y”?

The obvious choice is, of course, “bully.” But as a recent debate over the state’s budget reveals, “phony” is an equally valid answer. And as Mr. Christie goes, so goes his party.

Until now the attack of the fiscal phonies has been mainly a national rather than a state issue, with Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, as the prime example …

Here’s the story: For some time now Mr. Christie has been touting what he calls the “Jersey comeback.” Even before his latest outburst, it was hard to see what he was talking about: yes, there have been some job gains in the McMansion State since Mr. Christie took office, but they have lagged gains both in the nation as a whole and in New York and Connecticut, the obvious points of comparison.

Yet Mr. Christie has been adamant that New Jersey is on the way back, and that this makes room for, you guessed it, tax cuts that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

Last week reality hit: David Rosen, the state’s independent, nonpartisan budget analyst, told legislators that the state faces a $1.3 billion shortfall.

And it just so happened I had a song for the guy, an adaptation of Nazareth’s “Fat Man” from ’72. It’s an evergreen because Christie, being the a way overstuffed national figure, is reliably and regularly in the news.

Paul Ryan was done up a few weeks ago. And the Republican Party being full of people hell bent on giving all the national swag they can to the wealthy at everyone else’s expense is too easy to lampoon. Still, it makes no difference, about like trying to shame a bag of garbage into walking itself into the dumpster.

If you really know your early Seventies hard rock: Yes, that is Dan McAfferty of Nazareth’s dubbed in vocals for the choruses. And I do play it live.

05.26.12

Working off his Memorial Day guilt

Posted in Ted Nugent at 8:31 am by George Smith

Ted Nugent, self-proclaimed tough guy and warrior for freedom, dodged the Viet Nam war when he had his chance. At the time of his eligibility, he took a student deferment (a 2- S in ’68) at Oakland Community College in Michigan. Nugent also later held a medical deferment (a 1-Y in ’69). [Both are shown in his selective service paperwork. For an enlargeable version click here.)

The student deferment carries a little extra irony due to the fact that Nugent regularly bags on the worth of any college education.

Every year, now that he has a pundit’s career at the Washington Times, Nugent works off his guilt with a column on Memorial Day, covering himself in glory in fealty to the troops.

This year is no exception:

Freedom isn’t free. Never has been, never will be. Very special warriors have provided freedom at supreme sacrifice since time immemorial. Good people will never forget, and we celebrate Memorial Day with a hard-charging spirit in appreciation for hard-charging warriors.

With his lifeblood pouring out of him from a mortal RPG wound to center mass, Pvt. 1st Class Todd Balding from Texas was, on the surface, but a bundle of red gauze and bandages, a jumble of tubes and numerous electronic apparatus beeping away. He was surrounded by a dedicated team of U.S. military medical experts at the Landstuhl hospital in Germany doing everything in their power to save the young American’s life.

Toby Keith and I literally stood in the young hero’s blood and said a very solemn prayer. Moments later, Pvt. 1st Class Todd Balding died. He was 21 years-old. He died fighting for freedom. That was one of many defining moments that struck me deep inside during my USO tour in 2004, and a defining moment in my life …

Toby and I were humbled beyond words to be allowed to join a presentation guard of warriors on the tarmac of the Iraq air base as we saluted a procession of flag-draped coffins being loaded onto a massive C-130 aircraft. Like our tears, the coffins just kept coming – and coming and coming and coming.

When I received the call, I immediately sent out an all-points bulletin to my management, staff and family to clear my schedule of all events. Within an hour, I had arranged a private plane, guitars and various electronic sound equipment. I had been requested to perform the national anthem …

Readers will note this is mostly all about Ted and his playing of the national anthem at all his shows, louder and more vigorously on Memorial Day weekends.

Nugent’s big difference with the general American attitude toward war — the troops are the greatest as long as I don’t have to serve and I promise to make appreciative mouth noises or go to parades on key days of memorial — is that there’s even more hypocrisy in him.

The honest approach, and mine, is to admit you don’t give a rat’s ass about Memorial Day. I don’t buy the argument that anyone’s fought for my freedoms in the last ten years.

The military, our political leadership, and the people all wanted a fighting force that was unrepresentative of the nation and only a sliver of the population. One that would insulate the country from Viet Nam-style war protest because the sacrifice is not shared.

“Tonight, I will play a blistering version of our national anthem as my family gathers to remember … I will play it like never before …” writes Nugent.

Aw, just shut it. The Army kicked you off the bill at Fort Knox just a couple weeks ago, remember?


Newsy note: The Ted on guitar parts are of him playing the national anthem. He looks happy.

White, right wing and paranoid in Kansas

Posted in Decline and Fall, Extremism, Psychopath & Sociopath, War On Terror at 7:30 am by George Smith

Proving only that putting Republicans in power is dangerous because they do paranoid as well as predatory things antithetical to what the country once stood for, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed into law the state GOP’s anti-shariah bill.

From the wire:

Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill aimed at keeping state courts and agencies from using Islamic or other non-U.S. laws when making decisions, his office said on Friday, drawing criticism from a national Muslim group.

The law has been dubbed the “Shariah bill” because critics say it targets the Islamic legal code …

About 20 states [all under GOP governance] have considered similar legislation but the Kansas law is the only one signed in recent weeks, Council on American Islamic spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

“It’s unfortunate the governor chose to pander to the growing Islam-phobia in our society that has led to introduction of similar unconstitutional and un-American legislation in dozens of state legislatures,” Hooper said.

Hooper said legislators have often referred to Shariah law in supporting such legislation, but he said they take the word out of the bill to stave off legal challenges. The Kansas bill does not mention Shariah.

The Islam-o-Phobe most responsible for the national campaign to get anti-Shariah legislation passed into law in red states is birther Frank Gaffney, the man lampooned in the excerpt from the Tom Tomorrow cartoon, above.

Gaffney is also a prime mover in the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy and a vocal part of the Bomb Iran/ballistic missile defense lobby. Over the past few years he’s been in the blog on a frequent basis, every time for activities connected with electromagnetic pulse doom and whipping up fear, confusion and hysteria over the imagined creeping threat of shariah law in this country.

While we won’t be around to read future histories of the country, those who write them won’t be kind because of the likes of Frank Gaffney and the extremists of the Republican Party. They are a symptom the country is ungovernable and immune to reason, now in a demonstrable decline.

The debate in Kansas over the anti-Shariah bill showed a few state Republicans making slight noises over how they were ashamed to have been part of it. However, when they had the opportunity to do something they chose not to, going with the crazy crowd, lacking spine over fears of lost careers for the sins of common human decency, ethics and principles.

The official party of true blue American bigots wins one for the patron saints of intolerance and the setting of notoriously bad examples.


Frank Gaffney — from the archives.

Anti-shariah and Islam-o-Phobe crazy — from the archives.

05.25.12

Jeff Bezos upgrades his sweat shops

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:12 pm by George Smith

What a swell guy:

When protesters at Amazon.com’s (AMZN) annual meeting blasted the e-commerce giant for subjecting warehouse workers to triple-digit temperatures, company executives were the ones feeling the heat.

CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company will spend $52 million adding air-conditioning to its network of warehouses, the Seattle Times reported and Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako confirmed via email. (The company did not provide any additional comment.)

Amazon was criticized last year after a local newspaper in Pennsylvania reported how workers at its warehouse there had to endure heat indexes of 110 degrees in the summer months — sometimes for as little as $11 an hour.

“During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside” in anticipation of workers succumbing to the blistering-hot conditions, the Morning Call wrote. On one June day alone, 15 workers collapsed from the heat.

Heck, it only took nine months and additional protest at the annual meeting. Surely he will get some sort of humanitarian award over this outpour of the pure milk of human kindness.

Earlier today — the innovation of the Jeff Bezos vanity press publishing machine.

Afternoon cool jazz break

Posted in Decline and Fall at 12:53 pm by George Smith

If only it was in the Arclights and AMCs.

White, right wing, paranoid and out of ideas? Go with electromagnetic pulse

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 10:02 am by George Smith

What do you do if your a sub-mediocre writer of thriller fiction for the extreme right and out of ideas on threats to the United States? Go with electromagnetic pulse.

Here’s a link to chew on — Amazon’s listing of books on EMP, this — only the paperbacks.

1,633 entries for the Cult of Electromagnetic Pulse Crazy. Since it’s generated by an Amazon search algorithm it is not accurate.

However, a quick browse of the list uncovers a stupefying amount of fiction publishing, much of it vanity press digital editions.

It’s prepper/survivalist romance novels. They call it post-apocalypse, a too generous description by far as it insults famous post-apocalypse novels that aren’t atrocious reads. Like Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, or various novels by J. G. Ballard.

Here’s the eye-watering run down.

77 Days in September by Ray Gorham.

On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his flight home to Montana when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. The blast, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), destroys every electrical device in the country…

Death Pulse by David Alexander

Chaos rules when an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon is set off in orbit, triggering the most massive power failure and blackout in history. The blackout, whose epicenter is New York City, is far more serious than any ordinary mass power outage …

Half Past Midnight by Jeff Brackett

The Doomsday Clock gauges the threat of nuclear war. Currently, the clock is set at six minutes before midnight. What happens after the hands reach midnight? Survivalist Leeland Dawcett finds out when he and his family are plunged into the nightmare of their country returned to a third-world state. No phones. No computers. No television.

Grid Down Reality Bites by Bruce Hemming and Sara Freedman

The author of Buckshot’s Modern Trapper’s Guide for Xtreme Safety, Survival, Profit, Pleasure. This is now a collector’s book. His new novel brings you a working man’s guide to the end of the world. If you enjoyed One Second After and Lights Out then you will love this fast paced novel of 3 different groups surviving the confusion and terror of The End Of The World As We Know It.

Two young men, Mark and Eric struggle desperately trying to make it to their retreat in Northern California. Their truck is dead from an EMP. They have to walk 200 miles.

Land, a Stranded Novel (Volume 1, it threatens) by Theresa D. Shaver

Five go by Land – Five go by Sea A group of teens on a class trip to Disneyland are left stranded. An EMP over North America has destroyed everything electronic. No cars, no planes, no phones, no electricity. Refusing to wait for someone else to help them, ten courageous young people take charge of their future …

Lights Out America by Hale Meserow

The USA, as we know [sic], is gone.

But you won’t see any reports on the 10:00 news, because there is no broadcast signal. There are no computers, no circuit boards, no telephones, no wireless, no trains planes or autos, no refrigerators, furnaces, or lights.

Hundreds of millions of American citizens are instantly thrust into the technological equivalent of the mid-19th century.

The ultimate weapon of mass destruction, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a hydrogen bomb, exploded 300 kilometers over Kansas …

Dark Grid by David C. Waldron

In the wake of a solar event, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since 1859 when the height of technology was the telegraph, the northern hemisphere is faced with a new reality…a life without power. The electrical grids of virtually the entire planet have shorted out …

Lights Out by David Crawford (Made by, wait for it, Halffast Publishing)

Downloaded from the internet over three million times, this exciting, action-packed, survival story is finally available in book form. Lights Out chronicles the challenges of Mark “Karate Man” Turner when the lights go out over most of the free world …

The Long Ride Home by Susan Gregerson

Pedaling her bicycle through the countryside, mile after mile, had been one of Sue’s favorite ways to travel. Despite the shaky conditions in the world, she and a friend embark on a cross-country bicycle trip.

She’s nearly two thousand miles from home when an EMP (Electro-magnetic pulse) over the eastern third of the nation takes out the power grid and cripples transportation. She must get home!

The EMP of the Beginning by Rowan A. Scott

High altitude nuclear explosions generate an Electro Magnetic Pulse over the majority of the world. Electricity transmission lines are taken out, taking with them their transformers and generators. Nothing works any more …

“I normally quite like post apocalypse novels, but this one just didn’t grab me,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “There just wasn’t much character development. ”

The Rally Point: Bugging Home by Susan Gregerson, again

When an EMP over the eastern third of the US knocks out the power grid and disables cars near the detonation point, it takes a while for people to realize this is bigger than a normal power outage. But Sue and her family acted right away. Sue was 2,000 miles from their home in Montana. She was on a cross-country bicycle trip …

Fear of Falling by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

When Matt and Sarah Woodson take a much-needed vacation with their ten-year old son, John, their intention is to find a relaxing, remote spot to take a break from the artificial stimulation of their busy world back in Jacksonville, Florida. What happens within hours of settling in to their rural, rustic little cottage in a far-flung spot on the coast of Ireland is an international incident that leaves the family stranded and dependent on themselves for their survival. Facing starvation, as well as looters and opportunists, they learn the hard way the important things in life. Can a family skilled only in modern day suburbia and corporate workplaces learn to survive when the world is flung back a hundred years? When there is no internet, no telephones, no electricity and no cars?

The Great Collapse by Jeff Horton

While scientists prepare for a massive solar flare heading towards the earth, a hostile foreign government steals a top-secret, experimental weapon. When they use the EMP weapon to attack America however, the result is the immediate and catastrophic loss of modern technology …

Terawatt by Des Michaels

In the aftermath of a devastating EMP event, an unprepared suburban Texas school teacher battles his way across a thousand miles of post-apocalyptic terrain to rescue his wife and son stranded in Tennessee.

Our End Of The Lake: Surviving After The 2012 Solar Storm by Ron Foster and Cheryl Chamlies

A solar storm has just hit the world causing a EMP event. A emergency manager visiting Atlanta GA must find his way back home after this electromagnetic pulse has stranded him away from his vehicle and his beloved “bug out bag” …

Rohan Nation: Reinventing America After the 2020 Collapse by Drew Miller

ROHAN NATION tells the compelling story of how survivors of biological warfare and electro-magnetic pulse fight to defend and reinvent America. The disasters that lead to the collapse of America in 2020 and billions of deaths worldwide are based on sound research and analysis, the predictable results of on-going mistakes. ACE, the teenage daughter of a family that prepared for the worst, and Justin, the young refugee she captures who becomes her cavalry scout apprentice, struggle to survive in a post-collapse economy where horses are key to survival …

Had enough?

I’m not done.

From a newspaper in Florida, a lady — formerly employed by the Reagan administration, in interview for her new electromagnetic pulse novel, Castle Bravo:

It’s not every day one can pickup a novel and see the name of a once top secret government project on the cover.

But you can do that with a new book out soon by part-time Naples resident Karna Small Bodman, whose careers in the White House and TV news have made her highly qualified to write her fourth novel — “Castle Bravo.”

Karna’s thriller is about a potentially life changing, international threat to the U.S. The core subject of her story has popped up on TV newscasts several times recently.

It is electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, detonated high in the atmosphere by a nuclear device …

All electromagnetic pulse fiction comes from people who are in the far right. There are no progressives in the bunker after The End of the World As We Know It. The lefties are cannon fodder, faceless characters who get to die first because they lack the virtues of the heroes. After all, it is satisfying to write about the demise of enemies and their eventual replacement by a more virtuous, simpler world of horse, buggy, plenty of guns, and no Democrats.

A majority of these numbers are done through CreateSpace, another Jeff Bezos gift of dubious value.

If you’ve wondered why Amazon has moved into being an on-line Wal-Mart to the world, it’s because Bezos has contributed to the annihilation of traditional publishing. This has blown up the market for real books, developed by publishing houses, often selected for quality and edited by professionals so you can read them enjoyably.

Bezos has replaced this with an on-line store for dry goods, a music competitor to the equally repellent iTunes store, and the sale of one or two copies of millions of vanity titles. This monetizes and aggregates the idea that the authors of the above works will at least buy one, or maybe even two, copies of their work.

On Sunday, Tom Friedman was heaping praise on Bezos for just this thing:

I’VE spent the last week traveling to two of America’s greatest innovation hubs — Silicon Valley and Seattle — and the trip left me feeling a combination of exhilaration and dread. The excitement comes from not only seeing the stunning amount of innovation emerging from the ground up, but from seeing the new tools coming on stream that are, as Amazon.com’s founder, Jeff Bezos, put it to me, “eliminating all the gatekeepers” — making it easier and cheaper than ever to publish your own book, start your own company and chase your own dream. Never have individuals been more empowered, and we’re still just at the start of this trend.

“I see the elimination of gatekeepers everywhere,” said Bezos … “Sixteen of the top 100 best sellers on Kindle today were self-published,” said Bezos. That means no agent, no publisher, no paper — just an author, who gets most of the royalties, and Amazon and the reader.

However, there is a significant difference between writers and a horde empowered by Jeff Bezos to churn out mind-numbingly bad and identical disaster stories on electromagnetic pulse doom just because Internet technology allows them to do so with little effort.

Ultimately, this is Bezos’ innovation: The destruction of that which had value, to be replaced with the digital world’s equivalent of beach sand, with Amazon getting a commission on every grain.


Bezos sweatshop labor in the Lehigh Valley.

Bezos virtual sweat shop — Mechanical Turk — from the archives.

05.24.12

Offal

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Rock 'n' Roll at 1:54 pm by George Smith

“[Unintentional comedy] thrives; indeed writers are hardly needed to invent outrageous events.”

Tom Cruise as a 20-30-ish rock star singing Bon Jovi, propped up by AutoTune, shirt off, a fake tattoo on his tit. Intended — Hollywood Strip rock action. Result — closer to Al Pacino in “Cruising.”

And Paul Giamatti, the perpetually melancholy wine snob slob in Sideways.

Soundtrack music by ringers performing not-quite-authentically-right hair metal band hits you’re still buried under.

A trailer that makes the eyes water from the smell of dogshite.

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