Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Difference Between The Middle And the Working Class

A few of life's wieners, not engaged in any practical work, because most people admit that is of no interest, but engaged in the work of convincing others they are not yet expendable—after all, they have so much time to waste looking down and seeming to be busy.
Lately I have been rather intently watching and listening to the difference between middle-class and working-class labor.

Middle-class labor consists of a psychotic fusing of one's head to a "smart" device of some sort, wherein the fused engages in a constant, really quite unbearable, stream of jargonized prattle, meant more to convince other fused persons the prattler is not yet so inadequately informed about the newest thing or word or belief that they are expendable, rather than to achieve any practical end.

Working class labor is quite easy to recognize by the presence of a particular tool: the trash grabber. Pretty much all working-class jobs consist of picking up trash to enable a middle class or especially a ruling class person to both profit and to feel cleaner about themselves and their "best system in the world." Even construction workers, who are paid pretty well, are just moving trash into configurations that will convince passersby and future inhabitants they are viewing or working in a finely-constructed, geometrically-pleasing sky-stabber.

It is way past the time for a labor rebellion, and any number of other rebellions. But as you see, sheep just wait to be shorn, like good farm animals.

At some point I say: good for the rich.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rise of the Trumpublicans

The key to campaign success for Trump-brand politics is to say as little as possible about the stuff that matters the most to the most people. Meanwhile, Trump will say all kinds of crazy crap about demographics he figures are not going to buy him as POTUS anyway.
What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of a Trumpublican?

Well, check this out.

And note that not only did Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump trademark “Trumpublican” but also “Trumpocrat”.

Why? Think about it for a moment.

If Donald Trump somehow got elected as President, then what would happen? The first thing that would happen is that after all of his big-time bluster about “the greatest” whatever it was he had promised to voters, Trump would be stymied by the reality that Democrats and many Republicans would be obstacles to Trump getting his policies enacted into law.

In other words, Trump would have to do something that he seldom has to do when issuing orders to underlings in his Trump-brand empire. He would have to play the messy, compromising, game of politics. And nobody gets through that process without pissing off large numbers of supporters who feel the rotten compromiser has betrayed everything he has stood for.

Well, of course he did that. It is how democratic politics works—or fails to work.

But, when you are peddling a brand, and when the buyers of that brand simply do not like the product you’re selling—because it has been too compromised in the process of bringing it to market—a good marketer eliminates the compromises.

Or, as Trump liked to do on “The Apprentice” to the loser of the week—you turn to the problems and say “You’re fired!”

But Trump can’t do that in the American political system—unless he changes that system by offering his own brand of political parties. Trumpublicans and Trumpocrats would be members of either party who are ready to abandon party loyalty and go with the Trump brand of President and politics.

The trademarking of the names is obviously Trump preparing the ground for a potential third-party run. But Trump can go further than this. He can utterly erode respect (already very low) for the idea of political parties as organizations aimed at delivering candidates devoted to a particular body of ideology and policy.

Trump can reinvent the political party as solely a platform for selling a personality—a celebrity—as a brand of politics.

And what would the brand stand for? Answer: nothing!—in fact, the blander and less specific the better! But it would have a name: TRUMP!

Earlier this week, in an interview with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Trump was asked a question (by Heilemann) all the candidates should be asked:
“Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?”
Trump, who is allegedly a Presbyterian, answered:
“Probably equal. I think it’s just an incredible…the whole Bible is an incredible. I joke, very much so...they always hold up “The Art of the Deal”. I say that’s my second favorite book of all time. But I just think the Bible is just something very special.”
Now, if Trump had been asked what reality television show he liked best, or what pop singer he liked the most, and he gave an answer like “all of them are incredible”, everyone would know that was a bullshit evasion, and Trump was an ass for answering that way. But with the Bible? Nobody reads or understands that stupid book anyway. All that is necessary is that you say the Bible is just very special (whatever the fuck that means).

So far, the only place where Trump is failing at the bland, stand-for-nothing principle, is when it comes to attacking groups his brand has determined are expendable and exploitable non-buyers, such as Hispanic Americans and hedge-fund managers.

To counter the charge he is anti-Hispanic, Trump is courting Ted Cruz (or is it the other way around?), as a potential VP pick. Trump doesn't seem to think losing the hedge-fund vote is a problem.

The thing is, there is a reason a reality-television host is now building the foundation to become POTUS—and this is because it isn't what you stand for that matters in America (if it ever did). It is just what you can get people to buy. And if you can get them to buy chicken nuggets, you can sure as hell get them to elect Donald Trump as host of the USA reality show.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trump and America

Unfortunately, this is true, especially for that portion of America that still thinks with its dead-red brain. The funny thing about Trump is that if the Democrats could invent a horrific, cartoon opponent for Hillary to face, they could do no better than Donald Trump. The funny thing about that, however, is that in America, which has no love of Hillary either, Donald Trump could just be elected POTUS. And that, my unfriends, will be what we like to call a "final nail" for the USA and its absurd little empire. So, in one big respect—yeah, "bring it on"—as some other fool POTUS used to say.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cecil The Lion Might Just Sink Donald Trump And the GOP

This disgusting image now becomes a political litmus test in the 2016 US presidential campaign. The figures are one gorgeous, fucking DEAD, African leopard, and the poor creature's murderers: Donald Trump moral-moron sons Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump. The question American voters will ask themselves: would I be proud of these "men", as my sons, or would I demand post-natal abortion for both of them?
The political world is absurdly crazy, as we all should know by now.

Last week, all was well with some idiot gun nut named Dr. Walter Palmer (who by now should be headed to Paraguay or someplace similar to hide out with antique Nazis and other moral trash). And all was really well with Donald Trump, leading figure so far in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. He was leading in early polls, and his popularity was rising amongst Republicans, which by itself should speak great, dismal, volumes for the perceived value of the other Republican candidates.

In 2012, we had a clown car of bad Republican candidates (in most sane people's minds, "bad Republican" is a redundancy). In 2016, i.e. the lead-up to it, it is more like a boxcar of clowns and outrageous characters that are vying for the Republican nomination. Donald Trump, who has threatened for decades to run for president, mainly on the strength of his self-promotion as a great business person, only now, in the dismal last days of the GOP, has decided to run for the Republican nomination.

One has wondered, in looking at the other, incredibly weak, candidates the Republicans are so far sifting through, how a Trump movement might be thwarted. Worse, there is the prospect of a Trump third-party candidacy, which most likely would totally sink the GOP chances in 2016. What can stop Trump?

Answer: poor, dead, Cecil the Lion.

By now, you probably know Cecil as the much-beloved Zimbabwean lion, which lived in protected status in the African nation, until recently, when an American dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer—currently the most hated man in the world—paid poachers $50,000 to lure Cecil out of his sanctuary, and into open country, where Palmer, as big a lout and idiot as one could imagine, wounded the lion with a crossbow, and then tracked the dying animal for almost two days. When the tortured lion was finally found by the murderers, it was shot, skinned, and decapitated, to provide a trophy head for Dr. Palmer.

Unfortunately for Palmer, he killed a protected, and GPS-tracked lion, which made it much easier for authorities to discover what had happened, and who the perpetrators were. In the last few days, Palmer has gone from a tooth-pulling nobody from Minnesota, to the most thoroughly despised human being on the face of the Earth. Talk about going viral—in a really bad way.  There are millions of people in the world who would gladly see Palmer treated to the same mercy he gave Cecil. Handing the dentist over to Islamic State might actually be a more merciful fate to what some people want to do to Palmer.

Global citizens, and even most Americans, have had enough with these kinds of psychopathic celebrations. Seen here, Dr. Walter Palmer, on left, poor dead lion, center, and some other asshole-accessory to murder-photos on the right. Note to GOP: it isn't the 19th century any longer, idiots, and even in the 19th century, "civilized" behavior really wasn't exemplified by this kind of revolting foolishness.
What has all this to do with Donald Trump? The general, global hatred of hunting, as a sport, has been increasing for some time. Already, quite a few individuals have been brought low by their public declaration and publicly-shared images of their murdering animals. The Cecil killing has taken the global hatred of sport hunting to a new level altogether. It turns out that Trumps's sons are hunters (i.e., murderers) of big-game trophy animals.

In 2015, there is something really, essentially, barbaric about rich (almost always white) assholes, posing triumphantly with beautiful, dead, bodies of large animals that in many cases are struggling to survive as a species. This is not killing for any other reason than the thrill of killing. These psychopathic idiots do not need the animals for food, and certainly Cecil the Lion was not threatening anyone in Minnesota.

Trump has come out saying he supports his sons and is a member of the NRA—blah, blah, blah— which implies support for the glory of killing animals. Of course the Second Amendment was not established for the sport-hunting of animals, but to guarantee an active militia would be available for the defense of the state.

It is very likely this Cecil the Lion debate will further polarize the political debate in the USA, and especially on the Republican side of the debate. If the Republicans nominate a candidate with connections to big-game hunting, that idea and that image alone might be sufficient to sink that candidate's chances of winning in a general presidential election.

That is how crazy the world of American politics is. And yet, in that madness and that chaos, a kind of wisdom surfaces, because in 2015, and 2016, maybe it really is time for rich morons to stop celebrating their torture and murder of defenseless animals. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

In Act Of War, Chinese Kill 25 Million USA Data Entities

We are all just data silhouettes, collected and managed by governments, corporations, and their teams of hackers and exploiters, anxious to profit in terms of money and power by owning our data entities. When the shit storm comes, will it be real, or digital, and will that even matter when people are so much an expression of their data, instead of the other way around?

data entity—"a person, place, thing or concept about which an organization collects and manages data"

"There's a shit storm coming like nothing you ever knew."—Norman Mailer

"Sometimes the pool-pah ["shit storm" or "wrath of God"] exceeds the power of humans to comment."—Kurt Vonnegut

Imagine for a moment that an organization, say the United States government, did a thorough background check on you, and did it with your cooperation. Basically, your whole life was collected and constructed into a comprehensive "data entity", a computational avatar of your human existence.

This is what happens, and has happened, to millions of Americans who apply for jobs with the United States government. Data is collected, sometimes at a very intimate level, involving information on health records, financial records, and data on family and friends of the applicant. And then there are the "other private details" the government keeps in the data entity, but doesn't tell anybody about.

Now, imagine that this data entity, again constructed out of the essential data of your whole life, was delivered into the hands of an enemy, such as China. This would render your data-based life so vulnerable as to be "dead" as a reliable digital avatar of your human existence.

And that is what has just happened to 25 million American citizens.

In data entity terms, the Chinese cyber attack on the US Office of Personnel Management is much worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined. The death toll in those two attacks on the USA was about 5,400 Americans. By comparison, the combined death toll of the Battle of Gettysburg was 7,800. The death toll of the Battle of the Bulge, in World War II, was about 19,000 Americans, although that battle lasted five weeks.

The cyber death toll in the OPM attack was 25 million! And the data stolen was so comprehensive, that the data lives of these 25 million victims of Chinese aggression have been rendered worthless as secure entities.

If that isn't an act of war—then what is?—Iraq not having stockpiles of WMD?

Now, of course, because we are talking about "data" and not flesh and blood and bones being hacked to pieces, Obama is not going to nuke China, even though millions of Americans have been irrevocably and disastrously harmed by the Chinese.

In fact, if you go to, you wouldn't know that a Chinese terror strike on the data heartland had occurred at all. The homepage of the White House is talking about making solar energy available to all Americans. Well, that's nice, but what about cybersecurity? If you go into "Issues" and see where data security is assessed by the US government, you will find under the heading "Rebalance Defense Capabilities for the 21st Century", a list of concerns Obama says he is focusing on to improve the US defense posture. In other words, this is all stuff the US government under Obama has not fixed yet.

At the bottom of a list of capabilities Obama says need to be retooled is "Cyberspace", which even comes in after "Space" itself, so presumably the Moon will soon be more secure than your family's data entities.

After all the hacking attacks the US has suffered for years now, it is quite startling to see on the White House website this statement regarding plans for Cyberspace:
"The United States will lead international and domestic efforts to ensure the security of the global information infrastructures."
Let's hope that works out better than those efforts have gone to ensure Libyan security (after the US-led war to make Libya and a good part of Africa thoroughly insecure), or to ensure Iraqi security (by making heroes of Islamic State as it spreads its maggot army to every inch of the civilized world)—or that wonderful POS computing job done on

But then, let's recall that "cybersecurity" concerns being a topic of defense focus for the US government is like expecting the fox to patch up the holes in your henhouse. Hell, the fox put the holes there for a purpose. And that is because the United States government presents an ongoing threat to the security of every American citizen and their public and private data entities. And the great thing about the US government's approach to rendering all its citizens utterly insecure to the government's invasions is that the government doesn't have to hack a thing. It assumes the data is its property to spy on or to render useful to it in any other fashion, because it assumes the human beings represented by the data are also its property.

Because of these assumptions, the US government has and continues to coerce companies that make private data security protection schemes—like the ones that allegedly protect your computer data and your phone data—provide open access to US government agencies wishing to explore and exploit the data of all American citizens. Warrants? Yeah, that's a quaint idea, huh.

That is just one reason American have tended not to shout "go to war" when nations such as China launch massive cyber attacks on the USA. If you really wanted to respond meaningfully to such attacks, you would need to start by arresting and prosecuting all the traitorous louts in the United States government who enable it every day.

But when you mention things like that, you tend to hear idiots on the left and the right blather about prosecuting people like Edward Snowden—as if his act of pure patriotism was the problem, instead of one really outstanding solution.

Anyway, we are, as Norman Mailer famously said a long time ago, at the brink of a shit storm like nothing we've ever known.

What can we do?

Here are some suggestions:

A. If you can't defend America, and that is actually your job, then RESIGN! And that goes for everyone in the chain of command who allowed this catastrophe to happen. So, yes, Katherine Archuleta, the government administrator of this horrible mess, should be gone—today! Instead, Archuleta told Congress she isn't going anywhere, because as she says she has more work to do. For whom? Beijing?

B. And while people are being held accountable—yeah, right—how about America's chief spy (on Americans) getting the boot? Because, last time I checked, letting 25 million American data entities be murdered by the Chinese cyber army is grounds for a President of the United States to resign. And if he won't do that, then those halfwitted monkeys in Congress need to impeach him—finally! And right afterward, they can all resign too, because let's face it, they have a responsibility and a culpability for the disastrous state of US Government data security. Where's the oversight?

C. It is time for the American people to grow up. If you can't trust your own government to care about your basic interests, especially your lives, who are you going to trust? The Chinese? The Russians? This world is hanging on the edge of a deadly precipice, with the potential for vast loss of real lives increasing every day. And the governments of this world made it that way—including the American government. Yes, you can and you should demand accountability from government on a host of issues—but obviously if they cared about that, you wouldn't have to vainly demand it.

In 2016, we have a choice to make. Supposedly, that choice has already been made. Hillary Clinton will become President. Is that really what we want and need at this moment? Most Americans don't even think she is an honest person.

On the other hand, I am certainly not arguing for the election of one of the clown-car Republicans. They hate Americans almost as much as they love money and their own insanely stupid political rhetoric.

So, if it's Hillary or a Republican lunatic as our choice, hasn't the shit storm already arrived?

What can we do?

Educate yourselves about technology. And about your intense vulnerability as a data entity.

Other than that, hope for the best, and plan for Armageddon.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Apple Store Drops Civil War History Apps Displaying Confederate Battle Flag

As the Confederate army drives up Oak Ridge on July 1st, 1863, Confederate flags mark brigades and the Confederate 3rd Corps HQ. Similarly, Union flags make the position of Federal brigades. In Apple's idea of a proper historical simulation, the flags of the "bad guys" are erased to avoid triggering knee-jerk spasms of angst amongst people who a week ago probably couldn't have distinguished a Confederate battle flag from a box of mac and cheese. Screen shot from Ultimate General: Gettysburg, a battle simulation recently pulled from Apple's App Store, because of the display in the game of the Confederate battle flag.
As concern over state-sanctioned display of the Confederate battle flag extends to loonier PC erasures of history, Apple Computer has buckled under public pressure, and dropped (nearly) all apps displaying the Confederate battle flag from its App Store.

This includes historical simulations, such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, a much-praised, historically accurate, simulation of the battle of Gettysburg. In an announcement on the Game-Labs forum, the company that makes Ultimate General: Gettysburg said that Apple had demanded the history game be redesigned to eliminate any display of the Confederate battle flag:
“Apple has removed our game from AppStore because of usage of the Confederate Flag. Ultimate General: Gettysburg could be accepted back if the flag is removed from the game's content…We believe that all historical art forms: books, movies, or games such as ours, help to learn and understand history, depicting events as they were. True stories are more important to us than money. Therefore we are not going to amend the game's content and Ultimate General: Gettysburg will no longer be available on AppStore. We really hope that Apple’s decision will achieve the desired results.”
For the last week, a number of American corporations, including Apple, have been under pressure to eliminate selling any products that display the Confederate battle flag or any content that seemed to be supportive or insufficiently condemnatory of the Southern Confederacy. For example, this article directly challenges Tim Cook to remove all apps from the App Store displaying Confederate symbols. It encourages Cook to abide by the App Store’s guidelines, which state:
“Any App that is defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited, or likely to place the targeted individual or group in harm’s way will be rejected.”
The article writer, Zac Hall, did bother to include this exception: “I don’t believe Apple should censor historical content or remove informational material from iTunes or the App Store…”, but the problem is one person’s “historical content” is another person’s “defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited” crime against humanity. This is always the problem with censorship.

In most historical simulations, including ones enabling players to take the role of Germans (AKA "Nazis") and Japanese armies from World War II, the idea is to enable players to learn about history by simulating it, including from the perspective of the “enemy”. In military history games, of course, the main focus is on battle strategy, and not on the political conflicts that led to the battles.

This lack of political context, which mirrors a historical attitude seeking to find and assess factual data without ideological bias, has always been a vulnerable aspect of historical simulations—and especially military history simulations or wargames. Why, after all, should a person even want to play a game where the Nazis—or the Confederates—might win? Doesn't that say something very negative about the person? People who think that it does are going to be suspicious of the motives drawing people to play a game like Ultimate General: Gettysburg.

But—so what?

The point made by Game-Labs seems quite pertinent—all historical art forms, including games, should be treated equally. And unless Apple is getting ready to remove any work of art—movies, television shows, music—that has any display of something “Confederate”, it should restore apps such as Ultimate General: Gettysburg, and any other history apps, whose inclusion of the Confederate battle flag is based merely on an effort to get the facts straight.

More than this, the Confederate battle flag, whatever people may think of it, has been such a constant feature of Southern culture and a number of American subcultures too, that attempting to censor it out of existence is not merely impossible, but is counterproductive to any goal America has in addressing its ongoing problem with racism. The kind of action Apple has taken, for example, seems reminiscent of 1984—which, if you know anything about Apple's marketing of itself, is quite ironic.

Read more about the Confederate battle flag controversy here.

UPDATE! Friday, June 26th, 2015—as of this evening, Apple has restored Ultimate General: Gettysburg to the Apps Store. Game-Labs says the game was not changed and "is the way it 1863."