Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Fake Moral Outrage by Establishment against Trump will Benefit Him: 2

October 16, 2016 2 comments

As I mentioned in the previous post of this series, there are three main reasons why the attacks on Trump by the establishment and mainstream media have failed to have any lasting effect on his standing in the supposedly “objective” polls and, perhaps far more importantly, his popularity as measured by size and enthusiasm of his rallies. Moreover you can see large numbers of his non-paid supporters routinely hitting back in the comments section of numerous negative propaganda articles put out by the mainstream media. As some of you might remember, mainstream media presstitutes have been writing articles about his campaign “melting down” or “in disarray” for almost a year now.

Even supposedly “good” presstitutes like Matt Taibbi have written more than one article on the downfall of Trump. Don’t believe me? Here is a link to an article he wrote on September 6, 2016 – How Donald Trump Lost His Mojo and here is a link to one he wrote on Oct 14, 2016 – The Fury and Failure of Donald Trump. Though both articles pretend to be different, they have an almost identical basic theme- namely that Trump is imploding. But there is a problem with them in that they do not reflect observable reality. The point I am trying to make is that all mainstream media articles predicting the imminent demise of Trump’s presidential campaign are almost totally based in wishful thinking rather than an objective analysis of events.

So what is going on? Why are even supposedly “objective” presstitutes like Matt Taibbi writing the journalistic equivalent of ‘Letters to Penthouse’ than anything vaguely resembling journalism? Why has wishful thinking and make-believe replaced anything vaguely resembling journalism? Why are so many journalists willing to believe something is happening when there is no worthwhile evidence of it happening? Why are so many journalists unwilling to see Trump supporters as anything other than stupid and racist whites? And perhaps most importantly- why do these journalists exhibit so much hate and contempt for people who support Trump?

Well.. there are many reasons for the way in which the mainstream media is treating Trump and his supporters. Some of these reasons are linked to the corporate consolidation of mainstream media outlets that has occurred in the previous three decades. Other reasons have to do with pressures linked to diminution of employment opportunities in mainstream media due to the spread and ubiquity of the internet. Still others have to do with the extreme geographical and socio-economic separation of well-known journalists and the people and subjects they write about. But the single biggest reason behind the biased reporting by mainstream media presstitutes has to do with false consciousness– as defined by Engels.

The vast majority of presstitutes who still work in mainstream media owe their jobs to their social connections and access to the establishment elite rather than their merit or ability. Furthermore, the career stability and prospects of almost all well-known or wannabe well-known presstitutes are linked to extent that they will prostitute themselves to the establishment elites. Consequently they see themselves as loyal servants and defenders of the status quo which allows their patrons to keep on screwing the majority of people. Many presstitutes also believe that cultivating subservient relationships with the establishment elite will result in them being invited to join the group. While that does work out for a select few- the vast majority of mainstream media presstitutes who toil away to impress their elite patrons are seldom rewarded with anything beyond a regular paycheck and occasional invitations to elite gatherings and similar small favors.

It is now quite easy to understand why mainstream media presstitutes will uncritically support and defend the most outrageous mistakes and behavior of their patrons- from supporting the war in Iraq, supporting the housing bubble, supporting various financial bubbles to supporting war with “insert name of country”.. you get the picture. It is therefore a mistake to see the mainstream media in supposedly democratic countries like the USA as anything more the flunkies and stenographers of the establishment elite.

Trump and his supporters (especially his supporters) present the single largest internal challenge to american establishment elite in living memory. It therefore follows that all flunkies and stenographers of the establishment (aka presstitutes) believe that he and the movement behind him must be defeated and demoralized. Unfortunately for them, we live in 2016- an era where they have irreversibly lost their previous monopoly in controlling flow and dissemination of “news” and information. It also does not help them that a very small percentage of the population believes in what they have to say. I see their futile attempts at undermining Trump as being the final major attempt of their failing and decaying vocation to influence the course of events for the benefit of the establishment elite.

What do you think? Comments?

Fake Moral Outrage by Establishment against Trump will Benefit Him: 1

October 15, 2016 15 comments

The previous week, or two, has seen the mainstream media being involved in the coordinated release and promotion of one (or more) audio recording of Trump making some allegedly lewd comments about women. They have also solicited and promoted the personal testimonies of women who have mysteriously remember instances of Trump groping them many years ago. Needless to say, these stories are poorly sourced and look very suspiciously timed. I should also point out more than a few of the accusers have direct, or indirect, links to the Clinton political machine.

It is most peculiar that the mainstream media is promoting these suspiciously timed stories about Trump while simultaneously ignoring the still ongoing releases of John Podesta’s hacked emails by WikiLeaks. As some of you know, the emails released so far by WikiLeaks contain many revelations relevant to the electability of Hillary Clinton in the general election. Also,if you do not know who John Podesta is or need to refresh your memory of him- here is a link about him.

These leaked emails, among other things, highlight the extremely close relationships between her and large corporations and financial institutions- thereby justifying the commonly held belief that she is a tool of corporations and the elite. Other emails from the same leak have shown her disconnectedness and contempt for non-elite americans, especially if they are white and resident in non-coastal states. We now finally have full transcripts of at least three paid speeches given by her to Goldman Sachs (at about 230k per speech) and damaging excerpts from many similar speeches given to other banks and corporations.

Perhaps more disturbingly, these speeches have revealed that she admits (public positions vs private position)that she will say anything to get elected. It certainly does not help her credibility to privately say that Saudi Arabia and neighboring gulf Emirates fund and support ISIS/ISIL and then accept millions of dollars from them- including a million dollar check birthday check for Bill Clinton. There are others where she privately calls “common core” a failure, defends fracking, is against legalizing marijuana, is still totally for gay marriage.. you get the picture.

However almost none of these important revelations about HRC are being discussed in the mainstream media. The mainstream, or more properly the establishment, media is full of endless interviews of poorly aging white women who claim that Trump sexually molested them years ago. Oddly enough, none of these women made a formal or informal compliant about his alleged behavior at that time. Infact, many of these accusers continued to be on very good terms with him until he announced his intention to run for the presidency. Furthermore, there is no way to verify the veracity of their claims via third-party testimony or other forms of objective evidence.

The endless promotion of such news items about Trump while simultaneously refusing to cover the Podesta leaks strongly suggests that the mainstream media (in collusion with the Clinton campaign) is deliberately running a massive fake news operation against Trump to stop his democratic election to the presidency.

While there are those who think such negative coverage by the media will hurt Trump over the long-term, I think otherwise. And here is why.. How many of you remember the attacks on Trump’s emotional stability from three months ago, or the attacks originating from the Khan family a couple of months ago or those by Alicia Machado from three weeks ago. In every single case, these attacks had no real lasting effects on Trump’s standing in the polls. At best, these attacks appeared to have some negative effect in some polls for a few days followed by a rebound. In a future post, I will also share my thoughts on the apparently odd behavior of major pre-election polls.

So why are all these attacks on Trump by the Clinton campaign and mainstream (old) media failing to have any real effect on his popularity? Well, there are many reasons.. but they can be broadly classified into two categories. Firstly, it comes down to credibility or the lack thereof. It is no secret that constantly repeating stories and allegations with the same themes in absence of support from events in real life hurts credibility of those sources. The mainstream media have been crying wolf for so long that very few people (as a percentage of the population) still believe them.

Moreover, the internet allows Trump to issue his rebuttals and make counter-accusations to an audience that is far larger and more engaged than that now available to mainstream media. Some of you might know that many of Trump’s recent campaign speeches have between 200-300k YouTube views (per speech) within 48 hours of uploading them. Furthermore the footprint of people who believe him, or follow him, on various social media platforms is in the tens of millions. Between that and his very well attended rallies, he has a far larger non-traditional media presence than HRC.

Secondly, the public image he has cultivated over three decades is such that controversies that would sink conventional politicians have no negative effect on him. Everybody knows that he is brash and rude rich guy who likes the company of attractive women. That is part of his image and appeal. Nobody expects him to speak like Obama or anybody else from an east-coast ivy league university. His lack of pretense about enjoying fast food or wearing ill-fitting suits makes him look normal and real in comparison to politicians with HRC who are incapable of anything approaching spontaneous or normal human behavior.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, people have grown to associate the media image of politicians like HRC with greed, corruption, lying and systemic decay. It does not help that public trust in institutions, from the medical establishment to journalism, is at an all time low- and still going down. In this environment, a candidate like Trump appears more viable and reasonable than all those credentialed expert-types whose only apparent skills seem to be finding new ways of scamming and looting the majority of people. We also cannot discount the possibility that some of his supporters want to elect him for the express purpose of destroying the status quo- one in which they have no worthwhile future.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Inability of USA to Stop North Korean Nuclear Weapon Program

September 9, 2016 3 comments

As many of you might have heard by now, North Korea conducted another nuclear test explosion yesterday. Some of you might ask yourself- How can a country like N. Korea, which is supposed to be poor and largely isolated from the rest of the world, keep on developing nuclear weapons. Perhaps more importantly- Why is the USA, and the supposedly all-powerful west, unable to stop them?

Well.. here are the reasons.

1] The technology to develop nuclear weapons is not particularly complicated, especially if you are a sovereign nation with more resources and manpower than those available on a small island or archipelago. Regardless of what some pretentious white guys spouting technical jargon might make you believe, the technology and tools necessary to design and make a few viable nuclear weapons have been fairly commonplace since the late 1970s. Obtaining enough fissile material that is either enriched beyond a certain percentage (for U-235)or with impurities below certain levels (for Pu-239) is the single largest technical constraint.

Any nation-state with a decent level of industrial capacity and access to uranium ore can either enrich U-235 or build nuclear reactors to create Pu-239. It is therefore really about the willingness to do so..

2] Some politicians in the USA suggest that it is possible to exert pressure on North Korea through China. I however see this belief as an example of wishful american thinking. Think about it- Why would China care about what USA wants in this particular situation? What do they have to gain by playing along with such an american request? The reality is that China is too large and powerful a country to be bullied by the USA. Furthermore, there is an interesting precedent for their unwillingness to stop supporting the North Korean nuclear program. China, you see, is the single biggest reason for the success of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program. It also goes without saying that a nuclear capable North Korea is no real threat to China.

In other words, ensuring that North Korea has a modest nuclear weapon capacity is far more strategically useful to China than towing the american line and pressuring them to stop developing nuclear weapons.

3] Most people in USA believe that North Korea is very isolated from the rest of the world, except for maybe China. While that is true- as far as most of its citizens/ subjects are concerned, the government itself is pretty pragmatic about having restricted mutually beneficial ties with certain countries. It is therefore not surprising that the North Korean nuclear and missile program have ties with equivalent programs in other countries such as Pakistan and Iran. Some of you might be aware that the missile program of Pakistan received considerable help and support from its equivalent in North Korea. It is hard to believe that such an exchange was one-sided, if you know what I mean. Similarly there is some evidence that the Iranian nuclear program did benefit from the assistance of North Korea and once again, it is unlikely that there was no quid-pro-quo.

To put it another way, the government of North Korea is not made up of ideologically driven nutjobs who lack any significant contact with reality. They may be evil, but they are not stupid.

4] There are many advantages for sovereign states possessing nuclear weapons. For one, it makes you immune from any serious military attack from other sovereign states, such as the USA. It is no secret that possessing nuclear weapon capacity is the best way to protect your country and the elite system within it. The elites in North Korea know that they have no future if they allow the USA to pressure them into capitulating before their populace. They know what happened to Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. They know that the USA would not have to be cause the current situation in Syria if that country possessed nuclear weapons. They know that Pakistan can get away with what they do largely because they have nuclear weapons. They know that USA would never be able to pressure Iran like it did, if it already had nuclear weapons.

Simply put, the benefits of having nukes far outweigh the problems associated with developing and having them- especially for the North Korean elites.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: Sep 1, 2016

September 1, 2016 1 comment

Here are links to a few interesting articles I came across recently. They are all about how the “security” or “law and order” agencies in the USA (and other western countries) have become addicted to uncontrollable growth- with openly voracious and cannibalistic behavior. One of the linked pieces also makes the point that such growth creates new vulnerabilities for the host society which are far worse than the problem this growth was supposed to solve.

Link 1: Former Anti-Terror FBI Employee now finds Himself a Target

As a FBI surveillance employee, Ray Tahir spent the last decade tailing Muslims in counterterrorism cases. Among the investigations whose surveillance Tahir led were those of the charity Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development in Texas and North Carolina’s Daniel Patrick Boyd, who with others was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to commit murder, maiming, and kidnapping overseas. Both FBI cases had their critics. The American Civil Liberties Union described the prosecution of Holy Land Foundation as “discriminatory enforcement of counterterrorism laws.” In the Boyd case, as in other informant-led FBI stings, there are questions about whether the men convicted would have done anything at all were it not for the FBI’s involvement. As the FBI targeted Muslims in the United States following the 9/11 attacks, Tahir was among the front-line employees who made some of these cases possible. Now, he alleges, he has become a target himself.

Link 2: Leaked Catalogue reveals a Vast Array of Military Spy Gear offered to U.S. Police

A Confidential, 120-page catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area. The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information. The document provides a rare look at the wide range of electronic surveillance tactics used by police and militaries in the U.S. and abroad, offering equipment ranging from black boxes that can monitor an entire town’s cellular signals to microphones hidden in lighters and cameras hidden in trashcans. Markings date it to 2014. Cobham, recently cited among several major British firms exporting surveillance technology to oppressive regimes, has counted police in the United States among its clients, Cobham spokesperson Greg Caires confirmed.

Link 3: Hacking the US with only a Sound

Unlike the classic example of yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater, this panic can be induced by anything that sounds/looks/feels like a threat rather than the claim of a specific threat (like “fire”). Nearly anything can set them off. Here’s three examples of that over the last two weeks (there have been many more): JFK Airport- Unfounded reports of gunfire led to an evacuation of terminals. Police march passengers out of the terminal with their hands up. Police speculate that it was started by load fans of the Rio Olympics. CrabTree Valley Mall (NC)- Unfounded reports of an active shooter leads to a panicked evacuation of the mall. LAX Airport- Unfounded reports of a shooter led to people storming the jetway doors and spilling out onto the tarmac, people barricading themselves into bathrooms in multiple terminals, and more.

This public reactiveness may become the new normal both here and in Europe. If so, we can expect people take advantage of it. Here’s how. All it takes is a single audio clip. Like this or this either near a public space or done remotely on a timed playback device is all it would take to ignite the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that leads to a large-scale evacuation. In fact, people are so reactive now, I suspect it wouldn’t even take a sound that is explicit, only something that sounds similar. Think about this for a moment. The ability to shut down a public space for hours: anytime (just walk in and play the sounds); remotely (low-cost playback device on timer/remote activation); or on a large-scale (thousands of people playing the sounds on their smart phones in public spaces simultaneously)

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting YouTube Channel: Forgotten Weapons

August 15, 2016 Leave a comment

It is no secret that the quality of content made by amateurs and semi-professionals on YouTube now routinely exceeds the crap produced by the “professionals” on network TV and even many cable channels. As many of you know, I am interested in technology of all sorts- especially the history of innovation in those areas (both successful and failed ideas) that led to where we are now.

I first came across a YouTube channel on rare firearms, especially prototypes, 2-3 years ago. At that time it was were mostly 10-15 minute clips about the history and mechanisms of somewhat uncommon guns. It has become even better since them and a lot of content on that channel, uploaded over previous year, is very good.

YouTube Channel Link – Forgotten Weapons

Example 1:

Example 2:

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Technology, YouTube

Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 2

July 10, 2016 11 comments

In the previous post of this series, I pointed out that Micah Xavier Johnson’s (MXJ) profile was remarkable for being unremarkable. In other words, there is nothing about him which would predict that he was going to shoot up a dozen cops on July 7. In my opinion, the plainness of his profile is by far the most problematic part of that shooting since it raises the possibility that many (potentially millions of) other people in USA are capable of doing similar things.

As many of you know, the difference between fringe rebellions and full-blown insurrections is that those who do the former are far more ideologically driven than the later- which is a fancy way of saying that insurrections are usually done by people who are average in every sense of that word. The profile of MXJ strongly suggests that what he did is better categorized as part of a wider decentralized insurrection than due to membership of fringe group or belief in a fringe ideology.

And this brings me to the use of a bomb disposal robot by the police to kill MXJ. In my opinion, it was a terribly stupid idea to kill him with an explosive carrying robot. My objections to that action by the police are based in long-term consequences of such an action- both intended and unintended.

It does not take a genius to figure out that use of such technology, primitive as it is, in the USA opens the door to its use in far more routine circumstances. What is going to stop local police departments, filled as they are with “people” who feel they are above the law, to start bombing people in far more mundane situations? What about bombing innocent people living in some house that was incorrectly identified as the hiding place of some “suspect”? What about due legal process? Well.. you get the picture. However, cops killing people in USA is by the far the least problematic aspect of using bomb carrying robots.

The far more problematic aspect of legitimizing and normalizing such behavior by cops is the potential for serious and unending blowback. Do you think that people who are being killed by bomb carrying robots will not use similar devices and methods against cops? I mean.. what is now going to stop some black or brown guy from using an improvised robot bomb, remote-controlled device or even the suicide vests you see in the middle-east against them or their families? Think that is too far-fetched? Look what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan after the USA unsuccessfully tried and failed to occupy them. Do you really think it cannot happen here? How much money would bet on there not being a similar blowback in the USA?

It is well-known that people in Iraq and Afghanistan had no worthwhile history of using IEDs and suicide bombs against “soft” targets (non-active combatants and supporting civilians) prior to the invasion and failed occupation of their countries by the USA. As many of you might also remember, all that changed very quickly after the invasions and explosive devices (IEDS and suicide bombs) eventually caused more casualties among american soldiers and their civilian supporters/ helpers than pretty much any other weapon system. Then, as now, the american response was to increase harassment and murder of potential terrorist sympathizers and try to find technological fixes. We all know how that worked out or not. In any case, both occupations ended in american defeat- despite massive technological and material superiority.

Will write about some other aspects of this incident (especially the tone-deaf response of politicians and cops) in future posts on this topic.

What do you think? Comments?

Some Thoughts about the Recent Shooting of Cops in Dallas: 1

July 9, 2016 11 comments

I am sure that all of you have seen, heard and read a lot about the July 7 shootings that killed a few cops in Dallas. It is also not exactly a secret that this shooting has a peculiar linkage to a couple of extensively documented extrajucidial killings of two black men (Alton Sterling, Philando Castile) in the previous two days. As some of you know, more than a few of my previous posts have been about how the hubris associated with unaccountable power (or perception thereof) ultimately creates the conditions for the rise of its nemesis.

It does not take a genius to see that, throughout human history, institutions and systems that seem invulnerable at their peak inevitably implode under the strain of their hubris- which principally manifests itself through unaccountability, overreach and inability to adjust to the changing reality. Even systems capable of incredible levels of repression and surveillance over decades fail- frequently because of doing exactly that. It is also no secret that the status quo in the USA (especially since 2008) has more in common with a slowly imploding system than one with any chance of a better future.

Having said that, I will now make some brief observations about the July 7 incident.

1] The shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson, was a black veteran. It is noteworthy that he had no worthwhile criminal record and grew up in a middle-class family. There is also no evidence to suggest that he was particularly shy, angry or had an otherwise unusual personality. In other words, there is nothing to suggest that he was destined to do what he did on July 7.

2] Ideologically, he did not seem to be especially partisan or religious. He certainly had an interest in black nationalist groups and was not exactly enamored by the behavior of white people (especially cops) towards blacks. Then again.. it is hard to blame him for having a fairly negative view of white cops in USA. However none of this rises to a level which would foreshadow what he did on July 7.

3] It is now obvious (based on his journal entries) that he was planning to go on a shooting spree for some time. However, it is not clear why he chose to do it on July 7. While he was fairly systematic in planning the shooing, the motive is unclear. I mean, we know he hated white cops.. but why now? What was the final event which pushed him into action?

4] Unlike most spree shooters who prefer venues where people are unarmed, he chose to shoot up an area with hundreds of cops. Also he was pretty accurate for a spree shooter as only two protesters were hit by stray bullets and neither died. In contrast, he was able to shoot 12 cops killing 5 of them. Perhaps most interestingly, all 5 dead cops were white men- which is pretty impressive when you consider that particular police department has many non-white cops.

5] One of peculiarities of the July 7 shooting was his choice of weapons. Why would he use a SKS carbine as his main weapon? As some of you know, the SKS is an older, but rugged, semi-auto carbine chambered for the same cartridge (7.62×39mm) as the AK-47. This is especially odd since a person who was in the US army would be more familiar with using an AR-15 derived semi-auto carbine.

6] He knew how to milk the fear of potential IEDs to cause maximal disruption and fear among his opponents. I mean.. think about it- one determined guy with a SKS, handgun and basic bullet-proof jacket was able to make hundreds of armed cops take shelter behind cars, garbage cans and pretty much anything they could find. Even if you do not agree with his actions- that is a pretty impressive result.

I will write about other aspects of this incident in future posts on this topic.

What do you think? comments?