Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Satire II: Tea Bagger Rally In Wisconsin

  So the Tea Party gathered together in Wisconsin to give some support to the idiot governor Scott Walker, and the group had maybe some 2,000 pro-Walker supporters that showed up. Contrast that with the 70,000 pro-union supporters who showed up to give those Republican asshates in government a piece of their minds. That is a ratio of 35-1. Teabag that crap, will you?

  Here is a little something from The Daily Page showing just how dim the Teabaggers can be.

Gov. Scott Walker's shock troops came to the state Capitol today to rally in support of his budget repair bill, which would extract unilateral concessions from state workers while stripping almost all public employees in Wisconsin of their collective bargaining rights.

The rally, organized by the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity, was a bit underwhelming compared to the anti-Walker rallies this week, today included.


Gregory, of Milwaukee (he declined to give his last name), took a somewhat broader analysis. "I'm for people, not the government," he said. "I think people should solve their own problems."

What does this mean in the context of a dispute over union rights? "I think they should be treated like the private sector," Gregory explained. "The state is broke. We can't pay for pensions when the state is broke – the same thing Scott Walker says."

Gregory added something about his fundamental beliefs: "I consider the Ten Commandments the definition and the responsibility of liberty," saying any great leader must take his direction from these. And, in a criticism inspired by Obama's health care reform bill, he offered a critique of legislation in general: "No law should have more words than the U.S. Constitution."

I thanked Gregory and moved on. Later, it occurred to me to look something up. Ah, yes, here we go: According to an online resource, the un-amended U.S. Constitution has 4,543 words, including signatures. According to my computer's word count of a cut-and-paste file, Senate Bill 11, Walker's budget repair bill, has 48,966.

“Fox Lies” Shout Wisconsin Workers

You can bet your butt that Fox News Channel on-air personalities will edit the video and then tell even more lies.

Saturday Satire

   The better comments from the late night talk-show hosts.

Bill Maher:

"A Republican Congressman, Rep. Chris Lee, was caught flirting with a woman trolling for dates on Craigslist and sent her a shirtless photo of himself. He lied about his age and his marital status. He said he was 39 and divorced. He's 46 and married, though being a Republican congressman, I'm guessing he's really 60 and gay."

Jimmy Kimmel:

"President Obama delivered his 2012 budget to Congress yesterday, but it probably won't get much action, since they still haven't yet passed a budget for 2011. But to be fair, they have been busy posting shirtless photos of themselves on Craigslist."

Jimmy Fallon:

"Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack has proposed cutting funding for President Obama's teleprompter. Oh man, when Obama finds out he's going to be speechless."

"Borders Books has filed for bankruptcy and will close all 200 of its superstores. When Sarah Palin heard that she went, 'Finally, we're closing the borders.'"

Jay Leno:

"Forty years since the War on Drugs began. This makes Charlie Sheen our most decorated veteran."

"Watson the computer crushed its human opponents on 'Jeopardy.' This is the greatest victory of machine over man since the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Funnies ( with cartoons )…

….since there has been so much bull coming from the Republicans and their sidekicks, the teabaggers. Then we also have the union uprising there in Wisconsin. Go UNIONS!

Copyright © 2011 Universal Press Syndicate

                      Copyright © 2011 Universal Press Syndicate

Copyright © 2011 Universal Press Syndicate

                             Copyright © 2011 Creators Syndicate


Another Palin Chat…

    ….only this time it was with a group of business officials  on Long Island yesterday (Thur.) and of course, Ms. Palin had plenty of ignorant things to say.  Here are a few of them.

   When she got around to her ambitions to be in the White House, and to have a Republican in it either way, she said that a woman would be better qualified. She also had the gall to recite her resume, with all of her qualifications.

I am still thinking of leading this country. I am still thinking about it. I haven't made up my mind. We hired a chief of staff because Todd is getting tired of doing it for me."

When asked who else she might envision at the top of the GOP ticket Palin responded, "No one is more qualified to multi-tasking and doing all the things you need to do as a President than a woman."

"What I would look for in terms of character is someone who's been on the front lines, who understands how to administer, how to lead a team, how to run a business."

   Emphasis added by myself.

      My favorite quote was one she gave in regards to Michelle Obama’s push for women to breast-feed their babies.

“No wonder Michelle Obama is telling people to breast feed their babies, because the price of milk is rising so high."

     Sarah Palin brings the feeling of wanting to throw up every time I read her nonsense, so you can go HERE to read a little more.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The HB Gary Email That Should Concern Us All

Original Article

  Written by    Happy Rockefeller    Wed Feb 16, 2011

As I  wrote yesterday , there is a leaked email that has gotten surprisingly little attention around here. It's the one where Aaron Barr discusses his intention to post at Daily Kos - presumably something negative about Anonymous, the hacking group. But that's not the email I'm talking about here.

As I also mentioned yesterday, in some of the emails, HB Gary people are talking about creating "personas", what we would call sockpuppets. This is not new. PR firms have been using fake "people" to promote products and other things for a while now, both online and even in bars and coffee houses.

But for a defense contractor with ties to the federal government, Hunton & Williams, DOD, NSA, and the CIA -  whose enemies are labor unions, progressive organizations,  journalists, and progressive bloggers,  a persona apparently goes far beyond creating a mere sockpuppet.

According to an embedded MS Word document found in one of the HB Gary emails, it involves creating an army of sockpuppets, with sophisticated "persona management" software that allows a small team of only a few people to appear to be many, while keeping the personas from accidentally cross-contaminating each other. Then, to top it off, the team can actually automate some functions so one persona can appear to be an entire Brooks Brothers riot online.

Persona management entails not just the deconfliction of persona artifacts such as names, email addresses, landing pages, and associated content.  It also requires providing the human actors technology that takes the decision process out of the loop when using a specific persona.  For this purpose we custom developed either virtual machines or thumb drives for each persona.  This allowed the human actor to open a virtual machine or thumb drive with an associated persona and have all the appropriate email accounts, associations, web pages, social media accounts, etc. pre-established and configured with visual cues to remind the actor which persona he/she is using so as not to accidentally cross-contaminate personas during use.

And all of this is for the purposes of infiltration, data mining, and (here's the one that really worries me) ganging up on bloggers, commenters  and otherwise "real" people to smear enemies and distort the truth.

This is an excerpt from one of the Word Documents, which was sent as an attachment by Aaron Barr, CEO of HB Gary's Federal subsidiary, to several of his colleagues to present to clients:

To build this capability we will create a set of personas on twitter,‭ ‬blogs,‭ ‬forums,‭ ‬buzz,‭ ‬and myspace under created names that fit the profile‭ (‬satellitejockey,‭ ‬hack3rman,‭ ‬etc‭)‬.‭  ‬These accounts are maintained and updated automatically through RSS feeds,‭ ‬retweets,‭ ‬and linking together social media commenting between platforms.‭  ‬With a pool of these accounts to choose from,‭ ‬once you have a real name persona you create a Facebook and LinkedIn account using the given name,‭ ‬lock those accounts down and link these accounts to a selected‭ ‬#‭ ‬of previously created social media accounts,‭ ‬automatically pre-aging the real accounts.

Yes!!! That's how democracy and the first amendment are supposed to work.

In another Word document, one of the team spells out how automation can work so one person can be many personas:

Using the assigned social media accounts we can automate the posting of content that is relevant to the persona.  In this case there are specific social media strategy website RSS feeds we can subscribe to and then repost content on twitter with the appropriate hashtags.  In fact using hashtags and gaming some location based check-in services we can make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise, as one example.  There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas

I don't know about you, but this concerns me greatly. It goes far beyond the mere ability for a government stooge, corporation or PR firm to hire people to post on sites like this one. They are talking about creating  the illusion of consensus. And consensus is a powerful persuader. What has more effect, one guy saying BP is not at fault? Or 20 people saying it? For the weak minded, the number can make all the difference.

And another thing, this is just one little company of assholes. I can't believe there aren't others doing this already. From oil companies, political campaigns, PR firms, you name it. Public opinion means big bucks. And let's face it, what these guys are talking about is easy.

Just today I was listening to Stand Up with Pete Dominic on XM's POTUS channel. He was talking about the Wisconsin labor attack and how he had seen a lot of people email and contact the show in support of the Teachers there. Then he added a "but": "I've also seen a lot of anti-labor people on Twitter..."

Really? I thought. How do we know if those are real people? Twitter has to be the easiest thing to fake and to automate with retweets and 180 characrer max sentences. To the extent that the propaganda technique known as "Bandwagon" is an effective form of persuasion, which it definitely is, the ability for a few people to infiltrate a blog or social media site and appear to be many people, all taking one position in a debate, all agreeing, for example, that so and so is not credible, or a crook, is an incredibly powerful weapon.

How many times have you seen a diary get posted that reports some revelatory yet unfavorable tidbit about someone only to see a swarm of commenters arrive who hijack the thread, distract with a bunch of irrelevant nonsense, start throwing unsubstantiated accusations and ad hominem attacks to where before you know it, everyone's pretty much forgotten what the diary said in the first place.

Some times diaries deserve to be swarmed. But what if a diary is swarmed and it's really just one asshole working for a law firm that represents the oil company your diary was attacking?

I don't know about you, but it matters to me what fellow progressives think. I consider all views. And if there appears to be a consensus that some reporter isn't credible, for example, or some candidate for congress in another state can't be trusted, I won't base my entire judgment on it, but it carries some weight.

That's me. I believe there are many people though who will base their judgment on rumors and mob attacks. And for those people, a fake mob can be really effective.

I have no idea what to do about this problem, except just make sure everyone knows its possible, and so watches out for it.


Lastly, some here are falling for the meme that HB Gary personel, and especially Aaron Barr himself, are incompetent buffoons. This is a mistake. While Mr Barr may be a fool, he was not the one who fell for a spear fishing attack that allow an, apparently, 16 year old girl to gain access to their servers.

I have rummaged through the leaked email, some of which contain resumes for employees there. These guys are recruiting people with incredibly advanced skills from many different agencies and top universities like MIT.

HB Gary and its subsidiary, HB Gary Federal, as well as Berinco and Palantir, employed a lot of extremely qualified people with backgrounds in the NSA and ATT and other major organizations/corporations. These guys are pros.

Aaron Barr may be a mockery to Anonymous for running his mouth off. As he should be. But he's not an idiot and he wasn't the one who gave out the company's keys to a 16 yo girl.

I wanted to make this clear because it is in the interests of government and propagandists, and anyone else who wants this story to go away to try and blow all this off as one little company who wrote a proposal no one even read and who isn't even competent enough to protect its own servers so no one should pay any attention at all to what they were up to.

That is the narrative being spun, even here on this site, and it is entirely fictitious.

We are under attack. And the attackers are damn good at what they do. Pretending they're not, or that this isn't happening isn't going to make it better.

I do believe there are limitation to the effectiveness of such an attack on this site and others like it. This isn't twitter, and bullshit only goes so far, no matter how many personas are spreading it.

But everyone needs to be aware that not only are sites like this a target of attack, but that Daily Kos has been mentioned specifically as a target of attack.

Maybe this whole thing will be liberating. Maybe people will develop stronger spines and not be so easily swayed by raving mobs.

UPDATE: From another email, I found a  government solicitation for this "Persona Management Software".

This confirms that in fact, the US Gov. is attempting to use this kind of technology. But it appears from the solicitation it is contracted for use in foreign theaters like Afghanistan and Iraq. I can't imagine why this is posted on an open site. And whenthis was discovered by a couple of HB Gary staffers, they weren't too happy about it either:

The first email just had the title, "WTF Dude?"
The response email said, "This is posted on open source.  Are you fucking serious?"

Here's the link to the solicitation at website "". Yes, that name doesn't sound like cronyism at all...


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Iranian Warships In Suez Canal?

  No, not yet but they could be passing through the canal in the near future if one is to believe the Israelis.

  What we have here is Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saying that Iran will be sailing through the canal on Wednesday and he really has no proof that that is going to happen. He has not offered to explain just how he happens to know this and he calls the planned trip an Iranian “ provocation.”


"This is a provocation that proves that Iranian audacity and insolence are increasing," he said in a statement.

The Egyptian body that runs the Suez Canal denied the claim.

Ahmed el-Manakhli, head of the canal operations room, said warships must get permission 48 hours before crossing, and "so far, we have not been notified."

  So what does Washington say about this?

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed the presence of the ships in the area of the canal but would not say whether that was considered provocative.

"There are two ships in the Red Sea," he said, "What their intention is, what their destination is, I can't say."

  This is just Israel looking for a reason to start some shit with Iran over nothing at this point. Israel would like nothing more than to attack these 2 ships for even the smallest perceived slight.

"The international community must understand that Israel cannot ignore these provocations forever," he said, according to the statement. "We expect the international community to act with haste and determination against the Iranian provocations that are intended to destabilize the situation in the region."

     I take it that the canal is only to be used by those countries that Israel is not afraid of?

    We have the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Enterprise passing through the canal so I seriously doubt if the Iranians are going to start anything.

Live Writer/Linux Test

  This is my last attempt at getting Windows Live Writer to work in a Linux O/S. I have had to download/install a virtual machine and then install my Windows 7 into it just to get this mess to work in Ubuntu.

   Here’s hoping!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Glenn Greenwald Blasts government help in B of A's war on WikiLeaks & Anonymous

   The following article is one of many that have been ongoing over the past week or so, dealing with Bank of America’s attempt to illegally sabotage WikiLeaks and the hacker group Anonymous, using help from various “security” companies. This whole story came about because Anonymous beat one such company (HBGary) at its own game, and they posted many emails detailing just how far the corporations in the United States will go to keep their dirty little secrets. I’ll post other articles on this subject over the next few days.

Original Article

Glenn Greenwald Blasts government help in B of A's war on WikiLeaks & Anonymous    by Lefty Coaster

Glenn Greenwald launches a scathing attack on the double standard at work shielding the Bank of America's private war on WikiLeaks, and Anonymous, that made Greenwald into a target. Glenn examines the merging of corporate and government corrosion, effectively resulting in privatizing the Rule of Law.

The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters .
Hunton & Williams was recommended to Bank of America's General Counsel by the Justice Department -- meaning the U.S. Government is aiding Bank of America in its defense against/attacks on WikiLeaks.

Especially (though by no means only) in the worlds of the Surveillance and National Security State, the powers of the state have become largely privatized. There is very little separation between government power and corporate power. Those who wield the latter intrinsically wield the former. The revolving door between the highest levels of government and corporate offices rotates so fast and continuously that it has basically flown off its track and no longer provides even the minimal barrier it once did. It's not merely that corporate power is unrestrained; it's worse than that: corporations actively exploit the power of the state to further entrench and enhance their power.

The exemption from the rule of law has been fully transferred from the highest level political elites to their counterparts in the private sector. "Law" is something used to restrain ordinary Americans and especially those who oppose this consortium of government and corporate power, but it manifestly does not apply to restrain these elites.

Because crimes carried out that serve the Government's agenda and target its opponents are permitted and even encouraged; cyber-attacks are "crimes" only when undertaken by those whom the Government dislikes, but are perfectly permissible when the Government itself or those with a sympathetic agenda unleash them. Whoever launched those cyber attacks at WikiLeaks (whether government or private actors) had no more legal right to do so than Anonymous, but only the latter will be prosecuted.
What accounts for that brazen disregard of risk? In this world, law does not exist as a constraint. It's impossible to imagine the DOJ ever, ever prosecuting a huge entity like Bank of America for doing something like waging war against WikiLeaks and its supporters. These massive corporations and the firms that serve them have no fear of law or government because they control each. That's why they so freely plot to target those who oppose them in any way. They not only have massive resources to devote to such attacks, but the ability to act without limits.
John Cole put it this way: .
One thing that even the dim bulbs in the media should understand by now is that there is in fact a class war going on, and it is the rich and powerful who are waging it. Anyone who does anything that empowers the little people or that threatens the wealth and power of the plutocracy must be destroyed. There is a reason for these clowns going after Think Progress and unions, just like there is a reason they are targeting Wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald, Planned Parenthood, and Acorn. . . .

You have to understand the mindset- they are playing for keeps. The vast majority of the wealth isn't enough. They want it all. Anything that gets in their way must be destroyed. . . . And they are well financed, have a strong infrastructure, a sympathetic media, and entire organizations dedicated to running cover for them . . . .

I don't even know why we bother to hold elections any more, to be honest, the game is so rigged. We're a banana republic, and it is just a matter of time before we descend into necklacing and other tribal bullshit.

There are supposed to be institutions which limit what can be done in pursuit of those private-sector goals. They're called "government" and "law." But those institutions are so annexed by the most powerful private-sector elites, and so corrupted by the public officials who run them, that nobody -- least of all those elites -- has any expectation that they will limit anything. To the contrary, the full force of government and law will be unleashed against anyone who undermines Bank of America and Wall Street executives and telecoms and government and the like (such as WikiLeaks and supporters), and will be further exploited to advance the interests of those entities, but will never be used to constrain what they do. These firms vying for Bank of America's anti-WikiLeaks business know all of this full well, which is why they concluded that proposing such pernicious and possibly illegal attacks would be deemed not just acceptable but commendable.

From the New York Times:

Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals One idea was to submit fake documents covertly to WikiLeaks, and then expose them as forgeries to discredit the group. It also suggested pressuring WikiLeaks’ supporters — notably Glenn Greenwald of — by threatening their careers.

“Without the support of people like Glenn, WikiLeaks would fold,” the presentation said.

Another set of documents proposed similar ways to embarrass adversaries of the Chamber of Commerce for an initial fee of $200,000 and $2 million later.

The e-mails include what appears to be an exchange on Nov. 9, 2010, between Aaron Barr, HBGary Federal’s chief executive, and John W. Woods, a Hunton & Williams partner who focuses on corporate investigations. Mr. Barr recounted biographical tidbits about the family of a one-time employee of a union-backed group that had challenged the chamber’s opposition to Obama administration initiatives like health care legislation.

“They go to a Jewish church in DC,” Mr. Barr apparently wrote. “They have 2 kids, son and daughter.”

A week later, Mr. Barr submitted a detailed plan to Hunton & Williams for an extensive investigation into U.S. Chamber Watch and other critics of the chamber, including the possible creation of “in-depth target dossiers” and the identification of vulnerabilities in their computer networks that might be exploited.

Like Greenwald I am appalled by the growing merger between Corporate and Governmental power that this disclosure of Bank of America's hiring HBGary and Palantir at the DOJ's recommendation to attack WikiLeaks, and Anonymous (extending to even Glenn Greenwald) revealed. I find this frightening. I am reminded of a famous old quote on the nature of Fascism: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power ~ Benito Mussolini
Please take to time to read the whole Greenwald piece at the link above.

In the 21st century unrestrained Corporate power has become the greatest threat to Americans' freedom and well being.

Testing Software

It has been one of those days as I have spent most of it playing around with an Linux operating system, and trying ti find blogging software that works in the manner which I would like it to. I have tried all of the top software, with no luck in getting the programs to post my articles.

This is a test of another, very simple program, which I already do not care for.

Is there a Linux version of Windows Live Writer out there?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Obama’s 2012 Budget

   From what I have gather thus far, the liberals dislike most of the budget proposals because the poor will suffer more than need be, and the conservatives dislike the plans because not enough is cut from the budget according to them.


Outraged liberals called it a callous assault on the poor; dismissive conservatives labeled it a debt-riddled assault on future generations.

  Obama’s 2012 budget would cut  the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years with 2/3 coming from reductions in spending and the rest from tax increases.

The plan includes a five-year freeze on nonsecurity discretionary spending. Some programs, such as low-income heating assistance, would face the budget knife. New limits would be placed on deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.

   Even with some annual deficit trimming, this budget will still add $7.2 trillion to the national debt by 2021. That will be the same time that I hit my “ retirement age,” and I will be able to draw from my Roth IRA, which will be worth not to much by that time, at the current earning levels in the stock market amongst middle/lower class earners.

  So who is not happy with the budget plans?

"Every cut to necessary programs ... needs to be judged in the context of the unnecessary tax cuts for Wall Street millionaires that passed at the end of last year," the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) said in a statement, referring to Obama's deal extending the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years.

"We must make bigger investments in America's future starting now -- and ask the Wall Street millionaires who got us into this mess to do more to help pay for it."

The PCCC counts hundreds of 2008 Obama campaign staffers among its members.

Obama "says that he wants to work with us to begin reining in spending, but ... (his budget goes) in exactly the opposite direction," said New Jersey Representative Scott Garrett, a top House Budget Committee Republican. "Today is Valentine's Day, but I don't know if this is the card that America was hoping to get from the administration. It's a card that says you owe more to the federal government."

   No entitlement reforms are proposed for either Social Security or Medicare at this time. Obama and the Republicans are placing that issue on the back-burner for now. There will be day of reckoning in our future, especially with Medicare. Voters aren’t concerned yet, but they will be.

But roughly 80 percent of Americans would rather prevent significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security than reduce the deficit. Overwhelming majorities also shy away from cuts in education, veterans' benefits, infrastructure spending or aid to the unemployed.

Cut, but not too much. And steer clear of the most popular programs.

On paper, at least, the broader electorate appears to be embracing positions fairly closely in line with an administration now gearing up for a tough re-election fight.


A Total Idiot…

…. is all that one can say that Oregon resident Stanislav Vadimovich Bakanov is after getting arrested because the man filmed himself going some 140 miles per hour so that he could post the video up on YouTube.

Stanislav Vadimovich Bakanov was pulled over by police on Oregon Interstate 5 after he was clocked driving his black 2005 BMW at 118 mph. He filmed Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Postlewait as he approached the car.

When Postlewait asked why he was videotaping, Bakanov said he was filming his speedometer, and his arrest, to post on Youtube. The video later revealed that Bakanov had attained speeds in excess of 140 mph.

   He was arrested and charged with speeding (3rd time) and reckless driving. The video will be used as evidence against him.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Jeb Bush Says No Run For President In 2012…

…and that is one load of worry off my mind! That’s all that we need, another Bush family member in the White House. I do not think that dear ole Jeb would beat Obama anyway,but, the citizens of the United States are short on memory and  long on stupid when it come to politics. I refer generally to the population living in the state of Florida, who put this man in as their governor two times. He had a hand in making Florida the crappy state that it is today, with help from the Republican controlled “ good ole boys “ state legislature.

   Of course, the Republican thinking (?) is that Jeb Bush could help to garner more of the Hispanic vote, which the GOP badly will need to win the election in 2012.

  St. Petersburg Times

"There's no question Jeb Bush is one of, if not the, most popular Republican in the country, but the fact is he's not running,'' said Ron Kaufman, a veteran Republican strategist who helped Jeb's father win the White House in 1988.

In 2010, Senate candidates like Marco Rubio in Florida and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania showed Republicans how ardent and uncompromising conservatives can win not only primaries, but also general elections. This year the Republican frontrunner is Romney, with his reputation for flip-flops and a record of enacting health care reform in Massachusetts that looks a lot like "ObamaCare."

National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote a column last week practically begging Bush to run and making a strong case for why he should.

"Obama is slightly below 50 percent in the polls, with a real weakness in the middle of the country, and he's saddled with a recovery that has yet to produce substantial job growth," Lowry wrote. "Yet there is no true frontrunner in the race to challenge him. It's hard to imagine an environment better suited for a heavyweight like Jeb to make a run."

Politico on Friday offered up its own Jeb buzz: "More and more Wall Streeters think (hope?) Jeb Bush will let the other GOP candidates beat each other up then swoop in late as the savior. These people say Bush fatigue will fade once people realize how different Jeb is from W."

Don't bet on it.

   Make my day, Bush. the public may be short on memory, but your dear brothers sad leadership and the sad leader that you were in Florida would be brought back to the voters attention.

    Barack Obama may not be a 10, but it sure as hell beats another 0 in the White House.