11.25.12

From the Love Blog of John McAfee: Beachfront property

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Imminent Catastrophe, Phlogiston, Uncategorized at 11:02 am by George Smith


John McAfee’s coastal retreat?

Lads, you can do this at home! Take a Google satellite-view beach tour stroll along the northern part of Ambergris Caye in Belize and see if you can spy John McAfee’s center of adventure and intrigue.

The above snapshot may not be McAfee’s home north of San Pedro. But judging by a photo posted on his blog here, it is something of a match.

If you care to waste the time, try it yourself and see if you agree or find a better candidate. At max magnification, it take some time to scan the coast north of San Pedro for about six miles to approximately where John McAfee’s neighbor is said to have been murdered in news reports.

McAfee’s blog entries provide some additional information on the beach locations nearby, although he is quite possibly fudging it a bit (and has admitted to being interchangeable with fact and fictions).

“Sam and I began our ungerground oddessey [sic], not on the day after Mr. Faul’s death, but on Monday, the 15th of October, early in the morning,” reads a recent entry.

As far as being on the lam and intriguing goes, it’s not a bad place to be.

The McAfee blog has been hit or miss. It could use some better copy-editing and style. And McAfee has informed readers all the stuff about drugs posted on another Internet site was a practical joke, so descriptions of what’s real and what’s not are of an undetermined elasticity. For example, McAfee exhibits his enthusiasm for forged press identifications in a photograph. His display of, one presumes, a forged laminate attributed to “The Molokai Island Times” of Hawaii, an inactive newspaper which apparently exists only as a Facebook website with 189 “likes” is here.

Readers will note the curious nature of a Colorado address on the “Hawaiian” document.

More recently McAfee has announced the arrival of a Financial Times of London reporter who will, presumably, investigate and report the truth of the events now surrounding the life of the ex-anti-virus king in Belize.

The sometimes keenly interesting love blog of John McAfee is here.


Readers may note I do not refer to the blog of John McAfee as what he calls it, The Hinterland. This is because it is so obviously not.

On the Sand, A Whale of Tales, To Hide and Hide Not, all would be more descriptive. Think up your own!

11.23.12

Culture of Lickspittle

Posted in Bombing Paupers, Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 12:45 pm by George Smith

This blog has had a category for what Matt Taibbi describes at Rolling Stone:

So over the weekend I read All In, Paula Broadwell’s slobberific biography of General David Petraeus. It was nothing special, just a typically crappy piece of fawning, noncritical journalism …

You can pretty much guess the rest of the plot from there. Every environment Petraeus enters is instantly bettered by his majestic personage … We see Petraeus giving stirring speeches, working past midnight until aides tear him away from his desk, and stoically receiving compliments from grateful colleagues …

Then it hit me – it was an interesting book, after all! Because if you read All In carefully, the book’s tone will remind you of pretty much any other authorized bio of any major figure in business or politics …

Which means: it’s impossible to tell the difference between the tone of a reporter who we now know was literally sucking the dick of her subject and the tone of just about any other modern American reporter who is given access to a powerful person for a biography or feature-length profile.

Contrast with a piece that trended wildly yesterday, written by someone, a personal advice columnist, recommending the great man be rehired, at Slate:

Since Petraeus’ departure both Democrats and Republicans have been mourning the loss of a public servant of extraordinary ability … But thanks to our ever-faster cycle of humiliation and rehabilitation, he has already been punished and paroled. It’s time to let Petraeus get back to work.

A public servant of extraordinary ability.

Others might say you could pick just about anyone to continue the bombing campaign executed by CIA drones in Pakistan, Yemen and anywhere else.

The problems facing the country are still very great. What to do about global warming. How should the country be prepared? How can the United States regain world leadership in health care, equality and the general well-being of its citizenry? How can it restore real educational opportunity in an advancing world? How can it restore an economy that works for everyone and dislodge the grip of predatory big business upon national policy-making?

Whether or not David Petraeus is around is not relevant to any of the above.

Petraeus was a big machine among the other big machines prosecuting a decade long war on terror, an adventure built upon many frauds, all created to further war industries, political agendas and replace the one big enemy lost at the end of the Cold War with a new and never-ending one.

Superciliousness is a reasonable reaction. The scandal is a somewhat fortunate convenience in bringing on his retirement.

The Salon piece informs Petraeus already has gained the services of a DC lawyer famous for getting seven digit book contracts for national figures. As is the pattern, the disgraced CEO, or leader of some kind, is given a compensatory reward in gold to see him off.

On balance, the war on terror has been very good to David Petraeus. His wife should get half of it in the divorce.

11.21.12

Down in the Bunker in Whitemanistan at Midnight

Posted in Extremism, Imminent Catastrophe at 4:34 pm by George Smith

It is not right to coddle the beliefs of idiots or encourage their manias. Doing it puts you on the side of evil, even if it’s just television and you need the money.

Doomsday Preppers’: The craziest bunkers we’ve seen so far: \

Larry doesn’t want “possible marauders” stealing his stuff in a post-apocalyptic free-for-all, so he’s doing what any sane individual would do: He’s building an entire condo building underground, fourteen stories embedded in nine feet of concrete. When it’s finished, Larry says this luxurious bunker will have a swimming pool, exercise rooms, and a movie theater …

Demoralizing.


The dogshite that is National Geographic on cable — from the archives.

The Sweet Charity of Corporate America

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Psychopath & Sociopath, Ted Nugent at 3:53 pm by George Smith

Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and many other good books, has a Facebook account. And she posts regularly.

Yesterday:

Yesterday at a labor event I gave a brief talk on workers’ rights. Very brief: American workers have no rights.

Then, Ted Nugent, who suffers kidney stones, certainly not from eating too much sweet:

Economic lesson No. 1: The reason business is in business is to make as much money as possible. Businesses are not social welfare experiments whose primary responsibility is to provide jobs and meet the demands of ever-shrinking labor unions …

There is good news. In the private sector, labor unions are quickly becoming extinct …

The evidence is clear: Labor unions have a history of destroying companies and jobs, and have done much to kill the economies of states like Michigan, Ohio and Illinois — all states that supported Mr. Obama.


Good news, lads! Good news! When we’re fighting the scrabbling crowds on Friday, no union workers in most places!


Trivia notice: The paperback edition of Kipper’s Game, Ehrenreich’s lone novel (science fiction, it did not sell), features a blurb taken from the old Crypt Newsletter on its back cover!

The Empire’s Dog Feces

Posted in Crazy Weapons, Culture of Lickspittle at 1:21 pm by George Smith

From the Daily Plaster Caster:

Electromagnetic pulse grenades are a favorite of sci-fi storytellers and videogame designers, a la Halo and Call of Duty. The Army evidently doesn’t want to be left out: It’s seeking a real-life version that can blast electromagnetic signals and fry insurgent bombs.

To be specific, the Army wants “High Power Microwave (HPM) grenades” to “generate an electromagnetic pulse that could be used to defeat the electronics used to activate [homemade bombs] or that could be used to attack blasting caps,” according to its latest round of research contracts with small businesses …

Less certain is how such a device would be used neuter a bomb detonated with minimal electrical parts, like the Taliban bombs that detonate when someone compresses a wooden pressure plate; whether it would inadvertently fry U.S. troops’ own electronic circuits; or how difficult (or expensive) it’ll be to develop an EMP grenade …

Keynsian socialist job program for small businesses run by the same crackpot electric engineers who’ve been trying to make them for the last twenty years.

“Certainly lobbing expensive EMP grenades throughout a building won’t prevent all IUD’s [sic] from unfortunately finding a target,” writes one unintentionally amusing commenter.

Reading and believing trash all the time makes it impossible for anyone to be anything but a second-rate person — something paraphrased from an old Official Boy Scouts Handbook.

National Academy of Sciences on the Electrical Grid

Posted in Cyberterrorism, War On Terror at 9:42 am by George Smith

Last week, Steve Aftergood’s Secrecy blog pointed to a newly released National Academy of Sciences report on the vulnerability of the electrical grid to terrorism. In 2007 it had been classified by the Department of Homeland Security.

Aftergood writes:

Over the objections of its authors, the Department of Homeland Security classified a 2007 report from the National Academy of Sciences on the potential vulnerability of the U.S. electric power system until most of it was finally released yesterday.

The report generally concluded, as other reports have, that the electric grid is lacking in resilience and is susceptible to disruption not only from natural disasters but also from deliberate attack.

But even though the report was written for public release, the entire document was classified by DHS and could not be made available for public deliberation. Amazingly, it took five years for the classification decision to be reviewed and reversed …

The report contains no restricted information.

In the aftermath of the Sandy natural disaster, it has again been made obvious to some that the electrical grid can be damaged. And that electrical power, if it is disrupted for a long enough period of time, can result in death or the serious damage to the health of citizens in our modern world, particularly if they are old, sick and dependent on technological services.

For example, from the opening pages of the report:

“If such large [theoretically terrorism-caused] outages were to occur during times of extreme weather, they could also result in hundreds or even thousands of deaths due to heat stress or extended exposure to extreme cold.”

One of the recurring memes of the Cult of Cyberwar is the insistence that the electrical grid can be disrupted with little effort by cyberattack on the infrastructure.

This pernicious meme has created the impression that catastrophically turning off the electricity in parts or all of the United States can be done by many, simply by pushing software buttons from the internet.

The NAS report has this to say on “cyber vulnerability:”

If they could gain access, hackers could manipulate SCADA systems to disrupt the flow of electricity, transmit erroneous signals to operators, block the flow of vital information, or disable protective systems. Cyber attacks are unlikely to cause extended outages, but if well coordinated they could magnify the damage of a physical attack. For example, a cascading outage would be aggravated if operators did not get the information to learn that it had started, or if protective devices were disabled.

That’s about it, essentially.

The report describes the biggest hazard to the electrical grid as physical, not digital.

Physical attacks by terrorists, which are deemed not likely but possible, could — for example — destroy critical high voltage transformers. (The physical failure of such a transformer serving New York City, by Sandy and rising water levels, was recently and repeatedly on television and preserved on YouTube.)

“Although major terrorist organizations have not attacked the US power system, such terrorist attacks have occurred elsewhere in the world,” reads the report. “Simply turning off the power typically does not terrorize people. However, the United States should not ignore that possibility of an attack that turns off the power before staging a large conventional terrorist event, thus amplifying the latter’s consequences.”

The report lists many instances of cascading power failures worldwide.

Interestingly, it mentions the western United States, from 1998 to 2001, was afflicted by “rotating blackouts because of summer prices.”

Although not specifically named, this was the work of Enron gaming the power distribution market that served California. DD lived through it and while the turmoil that resulted did not directly lead to death or injury of anyone, it did eventually catalyze the voter recall of governor Gray Davis and his replacement by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As a result of Enron’s mischief, the Bush administration was compelled to place price caps on electricity sold in California. At that point, the rolling blackouts stopped. When deprived of this inflated profit, Enron collapsed and went into bankruptcy.

Reads an old news article from CBS:

Two days of rolling blackouts in June 2000 that marked the beginning of California’s energy crisis were directly caused by manipulative energy trading, according to a dozen former traders for Enron and its rivals.

The blackouts left more than 100,000 businesses and residential customers in the dark for parts of two days, trapped people in elevators and shut down some offices of high-tech companies such as Cisco Systems and Apple Computer, as well as chipmaking plants, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The traders said that Enron’s former president, Jeff Skilling, pushed them to “trade aggressively” in California and to do whatever was necessary to take advantage of the state’s wholesale market to boost the price of Enron’s stock .

The NAS report also discusses the risk posed by such insider attacks and malfeasance. It characterizes these attackers as “Participants in power markets seeking a predatory competitive economic advantage by disrupting the operation of other market players …”

The Secrecy blog comment on the report is here. It contains a link to the National Academy of Sciences where “Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System” can downloaded for free.

11.20.12

Nerds and young men big on Call of Duty, not so much on the real thing

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, War On Terror at 2:49 pm by George Smith

The twisted, ludicrous nature of American life can’t be exaggerated.

From the wire:

An animated version of the fallen US spymaster [David Petraeus] has a part in what is expected to be the top selling video game of the year – freshly-launched military espionage action title Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Petraeus is promoted to US Secretary of Defence in the game, set in a fictional near-future, serving under a woman president who resembles Hillary Clinton …

Players following the game’s main storyline will come upon Petraeus taking custody of a terrorist prisoner on a virtual aircraft carrier called the USS Barack Obama …

From a Philly newspaper, on two of America’s most famous generals, both in worthless drag on war, then and now:

Aside from the strategic implications, the Petraeus myth has inflicted a serious human cost. Since the former general’s flawed strategy was applied in Afghanistan, tens of thousands of American service members have paid for it with their lives, limbs, and emotional well-being.

It’s worth noting that when Gen. William Westmoreland told Congress how well the Vietnam War was going in April 1967, he was hailed as a hero and interrupted by applause 19 times. But years later, when an honest evaluation of his performance was made and the truth was laid bare, his name became a byword for military failure.

Before too many more get carried away lauding Petraeus with such superlatives as “one of the great American battlefield commanders,” let’s look at what actually happened in Afghanistan …

Hat tip to Pine View Farm.

There is a very salient difference between Westmoreland and Petraeus. Westmoreland was brought down by the Tet Offensive. The latter was brought down by his penis and a jealous lover.

Which says more about how bad things have turned in this country, along with the annoying fact that more of the country’s citizens play a silly game about special operations in the war on terror than fight in it.

Also, thanks to Frank, a pointer to another column in the same vein:

It couldn’t be clearer now that, from the shirtless FBI agent to the “embedded” biographer and the “other other woman,” the “fall” of David Petraeus is playing out as farce of the first order. What’s less obvious is that Petraeus, America’s military golden boy and Caesar of celebrity, was always smoke and mirrors, always the farce, even if the denizens of Washington didn’t know it.

Until recently, here was the open secret of Petraeus’s life: he may not have understood Iraqis or Afghans, but no military man in generations more intuitively grasped how to flatter and charm American reporters, pundits, and politicians into praising him. This was, after all, the general who got his first Newsweek cover (“Can This Man Save Iraq?”) in 2004 while he was making a mess of a training program for Iraqi security forces, and two more before that magazine, too, took the fall. In 2007, he was a runner-up to Vladimir Putin for TIME’s “Person of the Year.” And long before Paula Broadwell’s aptly named biography, All In, was published to hosannas from the usual elite crew, that was par for the course.

In 2007, on the old blog, I collected some of the Petraeus hagiography from daily newspapers. It’s a remarkable collection:

Petraeus, the physical fitness freak

“A physical fitness buff, Petraeus was accidentally shot in the chest at the firing range in Fort Campbell in 1991. His surgeon was Bill Frist . . . –Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

“He’s a fitness fanatic, a PhD in international relations from Princeton, an expert on counterinsurgency tactics and known for his ambition …” –Toronto Globe and Mail

“Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert and an intensely competitive fitness nut …” –Slate

Lickspittle and bootlicking

“IT WAS A different war back in November 2003 … Petraeus’s office was 100 percent USA, with its military issue desk, topography maps, and his battle gear — a vest, helmet, and boots — mounted on a wooden cross and standing at the ready. His running shoes — Petraeus is a marathon runner — were neatly placed in a corner.

“And in the months that followed the invasion, Petraeus, armed with his Princeton doctorate and his reputation as a ‘warrior scholar,’ was credited with finding perhaps the best balance of hard and soft power in Iraq … Petraeus found a way to use his new assignment — and his intellect — to influence events on the ground despite being stationed in Kansas. –Charles M. Sennott, the Boston Globe

Compared to T.E. Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Obi Wan Kenobi and Steven Jobs.

“[Petraeus] looks more like the real Colonel T. E. Lawrence, not the too-beautiful version played by Peter O’Toole in the movies. Like Lawrence, Petraeus is a little bit on the plain side, and he’s short like Lawrence, with the slightly stooped posture of a hardcore long-distance runner who simply can’t give it up despite his fifty-three years… A Washington Post article in November 2005 described Petraeus’s recall from Iraq as akin to Jefferson Davis deciding to pull General Robert E. Lee from the field of battle early in the Civil War…[Petraeus presided] over the Jedi Knights, which is the nickname given to the students of the college’s elite School of Advanced Military Studies—sort of the Army’s version of Top Gun. These are the guys whom the generals turn to when they want to take down some Death Star.” –Esquire

“By naming Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus as the top American military commander in Iraq, President Bush has done roughly what Apple Computer’s board of directors did when they brought back Steve Jobs in 1996: turned to a popular figure with a reputation for brilliant innovation to solve seemingly intractable problems.” –San Francisco Chronicle

PowerPoint slides of wisdom

“And so Petraeus also has his own version of [T.E. Lawrence’s] Seven Pillars of Wisdom, which in his case number thirteen. It’s a simple PowerPoint package of thirteen slides of lessons learned in the war.” –Esquire, again

A brilliant scholar. Did we say brilliant enough times? Well, he’s brilliant!

“Petraeus is regarded as an incisive leader and a ‘warrior-scholar.’ The 1974 West Point graduate also has a doctorate from Princeton University.” –CNN

“You see, David Petraeus is one of a rare breed of senior scholar-soldiers who knows—and can convince others, drawing on extensive historical facts…” –Family Security Matters

“Petraeus is a Warrior/Scholar in the classic tradition…” –typical random dimwit at a newspaper, the name of which I forgot to jot down

“There is no question that General Petraeus, your new military commander in Iraq, is a brilliant scholar and military mind … ” –Westwood Press

“David Petraeus. This man is probably the most brilliant person in uniform, genius IQ and Ph.D. from Princeton.” –Bloomington Pantagraph

“Members of his staff, that I know, say that he is the most brilliant man they know…” –The American Thinker

“Petraeus truly is a brilliant talent…” –The One Republic

“A guy like Petraeus is so ferociously creative and brilliant, sometimes that makes the buttoned-down senior military leadership nervous…” –The Guardian

“He’s a brilliant general who has already spent years in Iraq.” –Robertson County Times

“His cordial relations with the media, and the Newsweek cover story that depicted him as a potential savior for the Bush administration, rankled some of his superiors in the Pentagon…” Eudora News, Kansas, originally from the WaPost.

The hometown newspaper, overjoyed that someone, now a big deal, who lived there a long time ago will go to Iraq

” ‘David was always well groomed, one of the guys who had the right personality …’He was always on time, always had his homework done, always had a smile.'”

“…[A] flip through the general’s high school yearbook reads like a U.S. Military Academy admissions brochure: President of the ski club; striker on the 1969 championship soccer team; National Honor Society scholar; actor; linguist.

“In his West Point yearbook four years later, Petraeus was remembered as ‘always going for it in sports, academics, leadership, and even his social life.’ The accolades have continued. These days, Petraeus is seen as one of the Army’s premier intellectuals, with a doctorate from Princeton to bookend his West Point education. His drive and physical toughness — he’s an obsessive athlete and survived an accidental M-16 round to his chest…At 5 feet 9 and 155 pounds, the general has been compared to ‘an intensely compacted hank of steel wire.'” –The Cornwall Record

Hey, here’s a bit of wisdom from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Your horse would trot as well were some of the brags dismounted.


Rude, and it totally rules. The Echoplex effect is particularly cool.

Today, from the Love Blog of John McAfee

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism at 11:18 am by George Smith

Today, from the Love Blog of ex-antivirus tycoon, John McAfee:

I met Timesha 2 years ago while writing a story about the Mennonites of Belize. The Mennonites are austere and hard working, yet each Friday, many of the men allegedly went to a local bar in Orange Walk, drank, paid women for sex, and partied. I found it hard to believe, so I arranged to take photos at the bar on Friday mornings to help with my story. I showed up for five weeks straight before I finally got the photo I wanted …

Timesha works as a “bar girl” in lover’s bar. She is not a prostitute. She is young and pretty and men may sit with her providing they simply buy her a beer. When the beer is finished, they must buy another or leave the table.

Emphatically proving that America’s rich white guys who flee to Belize aren’t like you and me. They really, really go for the impoverished girls, among other things, apparently.


To Have and Have Not is a movie with Humphrey Bogart and a very young Lauren Bacall, a very very loose adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s book of the same title, spottily rewritten for the screen by William Faulkner.

Briefly, it’s a poor man’s repeat of Casablanca, only Bogart gets the girl after being chased by the authorities in Vichy-controlled Martinique.

Bacall was 19 at the time. Bogart was 45 and the film capitalized on their romance in real life.

But The Hinterland isn’t quite the same thing. No Walter Brennan as the drunk buddy, for one thing.

Perfect

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 11:01 am by George Smith

Here.

Cat Fighting

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:44 am by George Smith


“Associated Press photojournalist Nell Redmond was injured when Paula Broadwell swung her car door open on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 in Charlotte, N.C.” A little blemish signifying affection.

From the New York Daily News today:

The scandal was revealed after FBI agents began investigating threatening emails Broadwell sent to Tampa socialite, Jill Kelley. Broadwell apparently thought Kelley, a married mother of three, had the hots for the married 60-year-old Petraeus.


Had the hots. And so what’s your problem about accuracy?

And it’s better than this week’s Tom Tomorrow, on the same matter.

If it’s any consolation, after 1,000 views now it’s stuck with recommends that all feature the same video of Paula Broadwell giving a a lecture at her alma mater, one which the Republican crazies are convinced is a part of Benghazi-Gate.

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