It’s much worse than I imagined

Posted in Psychopath & Sociopath at 1:35 pm by George Smith


The Empire’s Dog Feces: Famous last words

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 1:13 pm by George Smith

He has an advantage because no one but the specialists will remember what he said this week two years from now:

Whoever wins the upcoming presidential election, by halfway through the new term the Commander-in-Chief could be wielding a new weapon straight out of science fiction: laser cannons …

Earlier this year [Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder’s] office had said the Navy was four years away from mounting the laser weapons, but [Monday he said] that recent tests had been “very successful” and the Navy has figured out physics issues that plagued early concepts.

“We’re well past physics,” he said. “We’re just going through the integration efforts… Hopefully that tells you we’re well mature, and we’re ready to put these on naval ships.”

Well past the physics. One of the hallmarks of bad science: Extraordinary claims not backed up by any particularly compelling evidence other than publicity statement.

File under Military Tech Plaster Casters and stenography.

Good news and bad news, lads. Laser cannons allegedly
almost here, but denial of science of global warming. Does this
country have its shit wired, or what?!

The Empire’s Dog Feces — from the archives.

On the yen for authoritarians (continued)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall at 11:24 am by George Smith

Frontline’s special on how a few groups in the far right Republican Party made the fact of global warming a no-go in the United States is here.

This has made the country into a redoubt of know-nothing-ism and anti-science.

“They think of themselves as rebels,” Frontline’s John Hockenberry says at the start.

Rebels — a bunch of overweight white men with no scientific credentials and a few run-out-of-town ex-scientist pariahs in the Republican Party. But how they know how to work closed media.

Scientists go on to explain how these groups — specifically entities like the Heartland and Cato Institute’s purposely misread the data and harass those publishing on the science with FOIA requests for their e-mail in fishing expeditions in hopes that handfuls of messages, presented out of context, can be used to damage reputations.

It is eminently depressing.

From yesterday, William L. Shirer — in 1959 — on the results of totalitarians:

It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers. Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was to try to even make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.

Make no mistake, a great deal of responsibility lies with the supine Democratic Party, too. John Kerry explains it vacated the issue because of attacks from the right.

Bob Inglis, a Republican who was primaried out of office from the right, believed human causation of climate change. And he relates how he was taken down by Tea Party attacks and talk radio, lumped in with the scientists assumed to be “godless liberals.”

“Tennessee passed a law to allowing the views of climate change skeptics to be taught in schools,” informs Frontline.

For half the country, science has been turned into a dungeon by the Republican Party.

“The [Heartland Institute’s climate change denial] campaign of alternative scientific studies, opinion pieces, books, and charts has been been building for years,” informs Frontline. It was bankrolled by big oil.

“Advocacy groups were enlisted to confuse the issue,” it continues.

“Exxon’s millions for skeptic’s groups made it a public target which would eventually be a problem for a publicly-traded company,” says Hockenberry.

“New leadership” at Exxon decided to review its anti-science strategy in 2006. Funding for its anti-science initiatives was suspended.

However, the damage had been done. Other deep pockets, like the Koch brothers, have stepped in to continue the financing of global warming denial. Even more money has been funneled through anonymous funding in the guise of a black hole agency located in Alexandria, Virginia, called Donors Trust.

“The [climate] scientists pushing this have a Marxist agenda,” says one of the climate denial quacks, a man funded by unknown business tycoons, right at the end.


Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston at 9:09 am by George Smith

From the frontpage of the LA Times today:

Filming usually takes place in the relative’s house. (Henry’s owner donates her cat’s time to Braden.) It is short but challenging. Henry tends to call it a day after about 20 minutes. Braden tries to bother the cat as little as possible, often shooting with a long lens, as a wild animal photographer would do. Occasionally he reverses a shot so it looks as if Henry is turning toward the camera when he is actually turning away.

“That is what $40,000 of film school will get you,” he says.

It takes Braden less than two weeks to make an Henrí video. He films for three days, then spends about a week editing the footage and adding sound. He writes about half the video, about one minute of content, before he starts shooting. He wants to leave room for inspiration.

I’m a fan and not just because I have a tuxedo cat.

DVFD: Useless advice, really

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 8:14 am by George Smith

Another Christian totalitarian, knowing his crowd:

NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Mitt Romney is distancing himself from Richard Mourdock after the Republican U.S. Senate hopeful said in a debate Tuesday night that all pregnancies are “something that God intended to happen” — even in cases of rape.

“I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” he said.

You can’t update the list fast enough. We have tribes so different there will never be common ground.

I’m considering getting this book at Vroman’s today. Really.


Had it coming

Posted in Cyberterrorism at 10:43 pm by George Smith

Hate to say “I told ya so,” but “I told ya so.”

The United States started the escalating arms race in cyberspace.

Now it has to live with the consequences when the property of oil flunkies in the Middle East, or the websites of American banks, are attacked.

And the New York Times has slowly come to the idea that there have been consequences from the US government’s decision to attack Iran’s infrastructure through cyberspace.

In August the anti-virus industry dissected a piece of malware named Gauss that had been unleashed on Middle Eastern banks.

Banking trojans are not particularly new, however, from Security News Daily:

“Differences in degree of sophistication are probably not particularly important at this stage,” George Smith, a senior fellow with the Alexandria, Va.-based defense-policy research organization GlobalSecurity.org, told SecurityNewsDaily. “[Gauss] looks like it’s fitting into the historical pattern. Just because the malware writers are working for a country doesn’t make them different than their older brethren …

“Maybe it’s a criminal tool,” Smith said. “However, the national arguments about cyberwar have always talked about opposing nations hitting banking and financial systems. So it is not really a surprise they would be making things to do the same.”

Hey, they read the western papers in Iran. And they know, or at least feel very strongly, they’ve been attacked by the US.

And so, from the New York Times, official pearl-clutching:

It raised suspicions that the Aramco hacking was retaliation. The United States fired one of the first shots in the computer war and has long maintained the upper hand. The New York Times reported in June that the United States, together with Israel, was responsible for Stuxnet, the computer virus used to destroy centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear facility in 2010 …

American intelligence officials blame Iran for a similar, subsequent attack on RasGas, the Qatari natural gas giant, two weeks after the Aramco attack. They also believe Iran engineered computer attacks that intermittently took America’s largest banks offline in September, and last week disrupted the online banking Web sites of Capital One and BB&T …

The finger-pointing demonstrates the growing concern in the United States among government officials and private industry that other countries have the technology and skill to initiate attacks. “The Iranians were faster in developing an attack capability and bolder in using it than we had expected,” said James A. Lewis, a former diplomat and cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Both sides are going through a dance to figure out how much they want to turn this into a fight.”

Pot. Kettle. Black. To reiterate, the US finds itself plagued by a number of fundamental hypocrisies.

First, for about fifteen years it has regularly warned, in the direst terms, of the consequences of potential cyberattacks on the various networks of computers in the homeland infrastructure.

But now it is well known that it was the United States that clandestinely surprise attacked the nuclear program infrastructure of Iran with malware in furtherance of national security aims. A preemptive not-so-secret secret war was launched and we fired the first shots. And, presumably, continue the bombardment.

Another hypocrisy is when one tasks a top official water-bearer like Leon Panetta to parrot the line that the US is at risk of potential Iranian counter-strokes, which could appear to quite a few to be tit-for-tat. We poked them with various sticks and now someone is trying to poke us, and toadies, back.

And I’ve been pointing it out since before the two designated national security celebrities consulted by the New York Times.

This is not surprising. Feigning alarm or dismay is the rankest mendacity. Or as Loki said in The Avengers: “This is a child’s prayer, pathetic.”

Me, on Voice of America, last week:

“[Iran] came to the game late. In cyberspace, it’s basically an arms race, so people are going to be spurred by what they perceive other people to be doing.”

And at GlobalSecurity, here.

Reader’s note on The Center for Strategic and International Studies:

One of those many think tanks now responsible for finding and analyzing all the many enemies we must build our fortresses against.

They Live

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Phlogiston at 7:08 pm by George Smith

Oops. Overlords let mask slip, seen on the internet.

Gaming YouTube (continued)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 2:47 pm by George Smith

Google, YouTube and the social networks have enabled a digital culture of manufactured bootlicking where cheating flourishes. When numbers of likes, views, reads and inbound links are the only measures of worth, where the person at the top — in the first page of results — is the only winner, it is the way things turn out.

A week ago or so I wrote about Mr. Mega Grilled Ham & Cheese, a YouTube user who rips the videos of others and uses them as test fodder for various pumping schemes on the system.

All of the videos on Mr. Ham & Cheese’s accounts were rigged, from manipulation of likes and views done by scripting to the posting of comments which generally point to make money fast Internet advertising come-ons. And while the videos are rather obviously gamed to a trained eye, apparently none of Google/YouTube’s algorithms for detecting abuse of this nature worked.

I discovered Mr. Mega Ham & Cheese upon when noticing a duplicate of “GE & Jeff (Taxavoidination)” on the network and it’s transparently falsified view count generated by automation run through Facebook profiles (probably dummy accounts, also violating FB’s terms of service).

If you observe this manner of numbers boosting long enough you get a feel for what is being used to do it.

In the case of Mr. Grilled Ham & Cheese, it’s something called the addmefastbot. It’s made specifically to game likes, views and followers. It’s sold on the back of the blackmarket for such things.

Some threads, showing apparently rather young people, eager to push up video views on YouTube, as well as other places, with automated addmefast scripting, are here, here and here.

You can use Google to find some random fat nerd describing use of a similar social network numbers rigging bot front end, called YouLikeHits.

If readers look closely they’ll notice many of the rigging bots were originally made by agencies which pretend legitimacy. That is, they operate sharing networks where users are encouraged to run up views and likes of other enrolled users’ pages in quid pro quo logrolling.

Invariably, such operations design scripting front ends for their users. These users then turn around and hack the front ends to enable free and faster automated numbers rigging free of the sham of running up someone else’s properties in return.

On the wish for authoritarians

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism, Psychopath & Sociopath at 12:19 pm by George Smith

It’s difficult for grasp how the Republican Party retains any support. That is, until you recognize that human beings, and the way they think, haven’t changed much.

Here’s William L. Shirer, in a yellowed 1959 copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” with something to say on people who live in media cages:

I myself was to experience how easily one is taken in by a lying and censored press and radio in a totalitarian state … It was surprising and sometimes consternating to find that notwithstanding the opportunities I had to learn the facts and despite one’s inherent distrust of what one learned from Nazi sources, a steady diet over the years of falsification and distortions made a certain impression on one’s mind and often misled it. No one who has not lived for years in a totalitarian land can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime’s calculated and incessant propaganda. Often in a German home or office or sometimes in a casual conversation with a stranger in a restaurant, a beer hall, a cafe, I would meet with the most outlandish assertions from seemingly educated and intelligent persons. It was obvious that they were parroting some piece of nonsense they had heard on the radio or read in the newspapers. Sometimes one was tempted to say as much, but on such occasions one was met with such a stare of incredulity, such a shock of silence, as if one had blasphemed the Almighty, that one realized how useless it was to try to even make contact with a mind which had become warped and for whom the facts of life had become what Hitler and Goebbels, with their cynical disregard for truth, said they were.

So when Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi wrote last night that Mitt Romney had “fucked the dog” in the debate, he immediately followed it with: “This should be the death-blow to Romney, but I’ve said that before and been wrong.”

The Psychopath Vote, the Romney vote, has its media, much like the one Shirer described experiencing in his book. The internet did not give anyone a free, uncensored world. In practice, it made it easier to encapsulate the space of one’s own tribe.

As far as foreign policy went, viewers will have noticed how the GOP, using its media, has made global warming a third rail issue in American politics.

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times ran a front page story on how global warming has opened up so much water in what was formerly the ice-locked Arctic, the Coast Guard has had to expand its patrols.

“The rapid melting of the polar ice cap is turning the once ice-clogged waters off northern Alaska into a navigable ocean …” reads the piece.

However, in 2012 America, one insane and dangerous political party, often faced by only supine opposition, has successfully convinced half the country that this isn’t happening or is of no consequence.

And so we’ve had debates in which the the incumbent and the gazillionaire menace squabble over who will be most aggressive digger and miner of fossil fuels.

He sank Mitt Romney’s battleship!

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Extremism at 12:29 am by George Smith


The worst candidate for president in my lifetime pulled his inane 1917 navy argument in the debate and the president sank him in thirty seconds of zingers:

“Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets …We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go under water, nuclear submarines … The question is not a game of Battleship, where we’re counting ships …”

Early in the debate Romney also apparently forgot Iran has a southern coastline on the Persian Gulf, making the claim that Syria was its route to the sea.

In any western nation except the United States, a Mitt Romney-esque candidate would be toast after his last two performances, each generating their own viral collective guffaws. (“Binders full of women” and tonight’s WWI navy excrement.)

And Romney was not just beaten last night. Obama destroyed him, showing the country exactly what the man is — a gazillionaire poseur who only gets away with continual mendacity because the US system is badly broken.

The Republic Party is insane and their candidate is but one symptom, albeit a big one, of the illness.

Mitt Romney is obviously surrounded by lickspittles. The proof? If his staff weren’t just a bushel basket of apple-polishers, someone would have told him to drop the ridiculous WWI navy shit weeks ago before it blew up in his face.

And, quite obviously, no one did. And the president politely kicked his teeth in.

From the archives — Romney’s battleships.

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