What did you learn in WhiteManistan today?

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, WhiteManistan at 12:32 pm by George Smith

The politicians of the New Confederacy don’t let the grass grow under their feet.

No sooner had they blown the vote on law to make abortion virtually impossible in Texas, they came right back with the expressed intent of ramming it through in another special session of the Texas legislature.

And after the re-institution of the rights of gays to marry in California, from the Great Southern Republic of New Kansas:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp said he will file a constitutional amendment later this week to restore DOMA.

The Kansas Republican said he will be joined by other conservatives in supporting that effort.

“My response to this will be later this week to file a federal marriage amendment,” he said at a Conversation with Conservatives lunch on Wednesday morning.

When Hell freezes over.

However, everyone knows now that the extremists are never stopped, not in 2013 divided America. WhiteManistan wants no part of the future.

Its politicians have deduced they can enact unconstitutional law much faster than it can be undone, in effect bringing on the Cold Civil War riddling the country.

Thought question:

What happens when, before the 2014 elections, WhiteManistan has legislation in place to disenfranchise its enemies at the voting booth? When the people who have voted for years come out in force because they know they’ve been targeted and they are told their papers are not in order by someone who has different color skin, do you think they’ll go home?

That’s not going to happen.

It is heartening to know that it was California’s gay couples who wouldn’t stand for the state’s Prop. 8 banning gay marriage. It was that persistence that pushed it before the Supreme Court, bringing about the repeal of DOMA.

From Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy , published in 2006:

Within [WhiteManistan’s] most loyal denominations — Southern Baptists, Mormons and Missouri Synod Lutherans — overall theology accords women secondary status. The essential female role is biblical and familial …

In a related vein conservative publications emphasized the importance in the 2004 election of the “baby gap” — the data showing the pro-Bush [white] voters have more children than do Democratic voters. The states where white fertility rates were high went conservative … Conversely, the states were abortion rates were highest supported Kerry.

To religious traditionalists, homosexuality threatened institutions of family and marriage. Eleven states held November 2004 referendums to ban gay marriage. In the seven states where conservative denominations are strong, the propositions carried by huge majorities: 86 percent in Mississippi, 77 percent in Georgia, 76 percent in Oklahoma, 75 percent in Kentucky and Arkansas, and 66 percent in Utah and Montana. Church-going black voters, principally Baptists and Pentecostals, supported the curbs by lopsided margins, increasing the antigay margins in the Deep South (and accounting for much of the small 2004 Republican increase in black support.)

Time moved on, shifting the sands of race demographics undermined the status quo of the Bush years. The country is more polarized now but WhiteManistan is in numerical decline.

Outsized Mormon bankrolling of Proposition 8 gave sleeping California a ban on gay marriage during the 2008 state elections. It won narrowly with a 52 percent majority. It put the state in the awkward position of having gay marriages enacted legally prior to its stand-up with the rest of the polity left to awkwardly look on. Socially, it was always a bad fit, rigged by money. One could perceive it would eventually be undone, somehow.

This was another factor, but not the major one, in the destruction of the GOP within the state. Its strategy of legislatively attacking enemies doesn’t work here anymore. In the intervening years the GOP was driven out of power, its end coming in 2012.

The rest of the country waits. But the neo-Confederates are never idle. They won a big one early in the week. They lost one today.

It’s not a coincidence that the win for the forces of good started in the Golden State and evil’s win in Shelby County, Alabama. The two regions — here and there in the Deep South — could not be farther apart.


WhiteManistan Revival Act

Posted in WhiteManistan at 11:53 am by George Smith

Cold Civil War 2 just got hotter, courtesy of SCOTUS. The new disenfranchisement laws are already being written up in WhiteManistan. Is there anyone left who thinks this isn’t going to happen?

Goodness, how delicious! Eating goober peas! Wait for the yellow lettering.

Now it’s time to shoot all the liberals down
And take everyone else we hate and run them out of town
Goober Peas, 2013

WhiteManistan, naturally, is not just location or the south. It’s an
outlook, a bleak philosophy that imagines a country that never existed, a demographic of bigots who never see themselves that way. The neo-Confederate sentiment is not just the old Confederacy.

From the New York Times:

Echoing the views of many on both sides of the debate, Mr. Coleman said that with voter ID laws in places like Ohio and Pennsylvania, and with problems with Hispanic access to the polls, maybe the South was not the center of the fight anymore. “I’m not so sure that there aren’t other jurisdictions in the country that are equally, if not more, in need of this than the South,” he said.

Jerry Wilson, a lawyer in central Georgia who has worked in Voting Rights Act litigation for 25 years, was not so sure.

“I think we’re in big trouble,” he said, reeling off a list of counties in the region that have up to now been hemmed in by the Voting Rights Act from making what he says were discriminatory voting changes.

Potential for discussion: What would a hot Civil War 2 look like in today’s United States? What would happen if the President mobilized the National Guard and deployed it to guarantee non-interference with voting in districts, cities or states where new legislation threatened to decrease and or render illegitimate specific voter participation for the 2014 mid-term elections?

What effect will today’s SC decision have on the frequency of domestic terror actions by the violent right in the US, keeping in mind a recent West Point study that posited increases in such terrorism when the political climate was viewed as growing more sympathetic to the beliefs of those with the potential to commit it?


Useless tool of cyberwar journalism

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Cyberterrorism, Shoeshine at 12:27 pm by George Smith

I’d skipped this last week because it was a particularly exceptional example of pathetic American journalism, a feature at high button Vanity Fair, on the “terrifying” nature of cyberwar.

It was made for the print edition, so it was completed before the Edward Snowden affair blew the rubbish of it into the trash. It’s standard script-writing, take the pants-wetting stories from anonymous government security sources, embellish with purple prose, and let a couple hackers of either stock smarm or villainy be presented as potentially able to take down portions of the the US with just a few keystrokes because they are so smart.

The latter was old stew over a decade ago.

Anyway, some of the worst of it (no link, Vanity Fair being another website of the infinite download):

On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran.

(Did you notice the telecommunications industry was seriously damaged by Iran? Somehow Escape from WhiteManistan missed it.)

Even so, many current and former government officials took account of the brute force on display and shuddered to think what might have happened if the target had been different: the Port of Los Angeles, say, or the Social Security Administration, or O’Hare International Airport. Holy shit, one former national-security official recalls thinking—pick any network you want, and they could do this to it. Just wipe it clean.

(Yes, terrible. Iran could take down the US through cyberspace. Never mind restore from backup. Repeat terrifying script of puny country making entire US infrastructure collapse.)

Asymmetric warfare — unconventional, guerrilla-style attacks on more powerful adversaries, such as the U.S.— is a cornerstone of Iranian military doctrine.

Repeat script third time. Puny country, master of guerrilla cyber-warfare, threatens US infrastructure.

During the second week of September 2012, a new spate of cyber-attacks against American interests began. This time, the targets were on American soil: U.S. banks. A previously unknown group calling itself the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters and presenting itself as an organization of Sunni jihadists made an online posting written in broken English, referring to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube called “Innocence of Muslims” that had sparked riots in the Muslim world the week before. The posting stated that “Muslims must do whatever is necessary to stop spreading this movie All the Muslim youths who are active in the Cyber world will attack to American and Zionist Web bases as much as needed such that they say that they are sorry about that insult.”

Next script: They attacked the financial system. Yes, nothing gets up the sympathy of the man in the street against the outside enemy by telling him someone attacked the websites of giant American banks.

To absorb the gargantuan volume of traffic coming their way, banks had to buy more bandwidth, which telecommunication companies had to create and provide. Telecoms have borne the brunt of these battles, just as the banks have, spending large sums to expand their networks, and to strengthen or replace hardware associated with their “scrubber” services, which absorb DDoS traffic. Qassam’s first wave of attacks was so intense that it reportedly broke the scrubbers of one of this country’s largest and best-known telecom companies. In December, AT&T executive director of technology security Michael Singer reportedly stated that the attacks posed a growing threat to the telecommunications infrastructure …

Be afraid, very afraid. Because, like … the banks (!) and … AT&T!

A hacker in Iran who appeared to be the prime mover in this group goes by the name of Mormoroth. Some of the information concerning these attack tools was posted to his blog; the blog has since disappeared. His Facebook page includes pictures of himself and his hacker friends in swaggering poses reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs. Also on Facebook, his hacking group’s page bears the slogan “Security is like sex, once you’re penetrated, you’re fucked.”

Another hack, which occurred even as the bank attacks continued through the spring, delivered a still more dramatic financial threat, although its ultimate source was difficult to discern. On April 23, the Twitter account of the Associated Press sent this message: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama Is Injured.” Faced with this news, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 150 points—the equivalent of $136 billion in value—within a matter of minutes. Upon learning that the information was false—and that the A.P.’s Twitter account had simply been hacked—the markets rebounded. A group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army (S.E.A.) claimed credit for the disruption.

Enough, really enough. Perfect Culture of Lickspittle material.


The new Shoeshine kiosk

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 1:25 pm by George Smith

At the core of the iCracked business is a network of iTechs who promise to fix your phone in a flash. Currently their network has 340 iTechs spread over 11 countries. Forsythe said thousands apply, but only 2 percent are accepted. The firm adds 50-70 new iTechs every month.

“We are extremely diligent in who we bring on and who represents us as a company…we background check every single one of them,” Forsythe said. “We have a five-step interview process.

“One thing’s for sure, the potential market is enormous, the world has more than 1 billion smartphones in use, and researchers estimate the next billion smartphone users to be online by 2015,” it reads.

And still there are 48 million people on foodstamps, many of whom have smartphones that, somehow, make no difference at all to mobility in the US economy.

Part of the legitimate rape caucus

Posted in Crazy Weapons, WhiteManistan at 11:41 am by George Smith

Joined with the electromagnetic pulse caucus in the House.

Trent Franks, famous last week for being part of the zoo of barely sentient animals from The Pit, aka GOP crackpots who opine on rape, in Politico:

“[Electromagnetic pulse] has the potential to be the ultimate cybersecurity threat because it can take our source of power completely away from us.”

Newt Gingrich was in town to prop Franks up in yet another run at legislation to fund the defending of the country from EMP doom.

And, naturally, no story on Gingrich and the Cult of EMP Crazy is ever complete without mentioning “One Second After,” the novel on electromagnetic pulse catastrophe come to America, a book that remarkably catalyzed the creation of hundreds of unreadable vanity novels made through Amazon’s CreateSpace. All done by the right wing demographic of white hoarders and arms stockpilers known as preppers.


A science fiction novel called “One Second After” told a cautionary tale of the doomsday scenario that would unfold if such an attack hit the U.S., frying electrical circuits and knocking out power. In the introduction to the book, Gingrich suggested that an EMP attack would “throw all of our lives back to an existence equal to that of the Middle Ages.”

“Millions would die in the first week alone,” he wrote in the foreword of the novel released in 2009.

Trent Franks, last week.

For reference, The Pit.


Three ricin-making machines

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks at 9:00 am by George Smith

Notify Homeland Security and the press.

Note where ricin paste comes out.

Emits clouds of ricin dusts on demand. Notify Global Strike Drone Command.

Can you spot the American innovation? Not a trick question.


Rock Friday

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Ricin Kooks, Rock 'n' Roll at 2:10 pm by George Smith

Does humor belong in music? Ricin Mama says it does. I’m the best rock guitarist and harp player in the national security field, easy.

If this doesn’t make you laugh or smile, you can’t be my friend. Really. That’s what I told ’em on Facebook.

Details: That’s a castor bean extraction machine operating in Malaysia. Obviously, producing a lot of dust. (This is for the thickheaded in the US who still think castor powder is a WMD.)

The economy that produces nothing

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle at 10:13 am by George Smith

Paul Krugman has gone ballistic on Apple this week. Although he says it’s not judgmental he analyzes the company for its position atop the American business pyramid, explaining the difference between an economy that once depended on production of material goods for profits (I grew up in the shadows of Alcoa and Bethlehem Steel) and one now largely turned over to what he calls “monopoly rents.”

Which is another variation on rent-seeking, the abandonment of producing anything of particular good for society for collecting money off what control of a market will sustain.


Apple, by contrast, seems barely tethered to the material world. Depending on the vagaries of its stock price, it’s either the highest-valued or the second-highest-valued company in America, but it employs less than 0.05 percent of our workers. To some extent, that’s because it has outsourced almost all its production overseas. But the truth is that the Chinese aren’t making that much money from Apple sales either. To a large extent, the price you pay for an iWhatever is disconnected from the cost of producing the gadget. Apple simply charges what the traffic will bear, and given the strength of its market position, the traffic will bear a lot.

Again, I’m not making a moral judgment here. You can argue that Apple earned its special position — although I’m not sure how many would make a similar claim for Microsoft, which made huge profits for many years, let alone for the financial industry, which is also marked by a lot of what look like monopoly rents, and these days accounts for roughly 30 percent of total corporate profits. Anyway, whether corporations deserve their privileged status or not, the economy is affected, and not in a good way, when profits increasingly reflect market power rather than production.

“You might suspect that this can’t be good for the broader economy, and you’d be right,” he adds. “If household income and hence household spending is held down because labor gets an ever-smaller share of national income, while corporations, despite soaring profits, have little incentive to invest, you have a recipe for persistently depressed demand.”

One wonders what things might be like if Bill Gates had allowed Apple to die when it was on the ropes in desktop computing. I doubt things would be much different but we wouldn’t be surrounded by the smug iJunk servants to the 1 percent and the constant sermonizing on the transforming power of its technological innovation.

Even if you hate it I’m going to shove it at you. Because it’s right on.

One point Krugman didn’t get to in his column was Apple’s destruction of the pop music industry. This also did not depend on any means of production, just leveraging of a design, technology and monopoly power.

While Apple did not invent the technology, the design of its prime bauble — the iPod, allowed it to take the majority of money-making on music sales and redirect it through the iTunes mechanism. In essence, this made Apple the center of the pop music industry in a way that old-fashioned record stores, even chains, tied to location and communities never could be.

If you had told music company execs twenty five years ago that their stuff would all be profit-shifted to Apple and laundered through Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes to Uncle Sam, they would have thrown you out of the room.

Hey, for the second time, did you notice the name change?


Conservative Utopia, WhiteManistan

Posted in WhiteManistan at 8:58 am by George Smith

Germane to Kansas’ turn to the neo-Confederate extreme right,
a piece on expanding suburban poverty in the state:

The problem is, almost no jobs pay well, especially in the fields that are growing in areas like Johnson County. “The basic point is that we’re a low wage country,” Peter Edelman, the Georgetown law school professor and poverty expert, said when I spoke to him. “People ought to make more money from working.”

It is a sentiment I’ve heard over and over, from experts and from people who live in communities with a rising population of poor families.

If people are working [in Kansas], they’re in the low-wage service sector and there is nowhere for them to move up,” it reads.

The concluding line:

“I’ve said all along that we need to tell the American consumer to stop demanding the lowest price always and stop demanding the highest return on their investment dollar,” she says. “If not, we are going to continue to see all these non-living-wage jobs.”

It is a little too late, just like everything else.

One should read the “comments” for the immediate arrival of the trolls who attribute all the terrible statistics to either myth or the tyranny of the federal government.

Did you notice?

Posted in Phlogiston, WhiteManistan at 8:30 am by George Smith

I renamed the place.

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