Monday, September 20, 2021

The Magnolia is no Garden of Eden

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It may look like a garden, but its really more of a snake pit.  Its not the paper thin walls, or the windows that have been painted over so many times that they will never open, or the termites, or the weird (unwritten) rules, or the obsolete electrical system, or the baroque legacy gas system where you are as likely to be paying for your neighbor's utilities as your own.  Its not the suicides of which there have been two in recent years.  Its the people.  The smile to your face, stab you in the back people that is the problem here.  The emotionally-challenged woman who thinks that every man lusts for her calves and complains about invasion of privacy when no such thing has occurred.  Or the neighbor who sang Joni Mitchell  songs at night whenever she got drunk (which was every night) but complained to management that I used the telephone.  I didnt appreciate it when Management threw her out with 3 days notice, I think that she deserved more compassion than that, even if she had stabbed me in the back.  But by far the worse part of this was the new landlady, one of those who is scared of computers and doesnt know much about them, and is willing to say the most appalling things in writing apparently too stupid to realize that she was letting both herself and the Magnolia in for an astonishing lawsuit that they would lose, if I did lawsuits, which I dont.  And neither does my patron, whose guest I was.  And so, may I advise you, dear reader, if you are considering the Magnolia to save yourself some trouble and go elsewhere.  Life is too short.




Friday, September 17, 2021

Who Has the Best Failed State?

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I could use some help figuring out what we believe the long term deaths and wounded statistics of the Chernobyl disaster. Chernobyl is the gold standard by which to measure the failure of a government to cope with a crisis and the long term effects of their incompetence. But its hard to get good numbers of the long term deaths and wounded of Chernobyl. There are reasons for this beyond mere suppression of the facts for political purposes (like we find in this country). They may be trying to avoid despair which causes death through other self inflicted wounds such as tobacco and alcohol. If you believe you are going to die of radiation poisoning anyway why not smoke another pack of cigarettes a day and drink more vodka?

I am pretty sure though that America and a few other countries like Brazil can proudly say that their failed governments have been much more incompetent and caused many more deaths than the USSR and successor states. In fact, the Republican response may still be killing a Chernobyls worth of their own citizens every 100 days. Oddly, these deaths of the last six months are restricted almost entirely to the unvaccinated, who are almost all Republicans. This will not affect elections since voter suppression and the supreme court's destruction of voter rights have the intent and effect of delegitimizing elections and installing more right wing thugs like Trump and is self perpetuating. But the reports I have read suggest that the USSR and successor countries have devoted and still devote huge resources to social and medical welfare to people in the various affected regions even when it is likely that they were not affected. Our country, with its corrupt right wing judiciary, throws people on the street if they are 3 days late on rent. I had to hear a lot of shit about how bad communism was and how great western democracy is. Not so sure about the former but about the latter I can be quite sure. We laugh at people saying that under Socialism an NKRP reactor (or whatever) cant explode. Well in this country we have trump and the moron republicans (there are only republicans, the people who oppose them and a third group which is passive) saying the virus is a hoax, that the democrats are using it to defeat trump, who is the chosen one, that the virus is just bad flu, that quinine water or horse tenderizer will keep you from getting bad virus, and that there has never been a time when any american has been forced to exercise basic public health protocols (because the people saying it are too stupid to know about the history in this country of cholera, yellow fever, basic sewage, speed limits and water controls, etc). The Republicans did this, and caused what will be no less than a million unnecessary deaths (we are very close to that number now).

Shouldnt I be hearing a lot of people talking about the failures of the western democracy and capitalism?

 


 


 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Commentary on September 11th

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I was in NYC on September 11th. By far the worst part was not that day, but the months afterwards as my fellow NYers put up posters acknowledging their loved one was missing. Literally everyone I knew in NY either knew someone in the two towers who died or was one person removed. Second, it is probably not well known outside of NY or maybe I am wrong about this: but no one actually knows how many people died in the collapse of the towers. Why is that, you may ask, its because there is illegal immigration in all areas of american life, and the financial industries are far from immune and when something bad happens, the family is not going to go to the police only to have ICE show up in a week or month to deport them. Finally, you make your guess at how many people died, then make a guess as to their average body weight, then realize that the clean up crews had to remove that much dead body parts that was layered through the wreckage. Do the math. You will be surprised.



Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dreams and Visions

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I had three dreams last night, each with friends who have passed away.

Today my Instacart delivery person was MacKensie, maybe 24, with tight leopard shorts.

I am off medication until tomorrow.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

A Farewell to Scones

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I dont know where this will all end up, but clearly scones, homemade or otherwise, are mostly carbohydrates of one form or another.  And that cant be on my current diet, the diet I am on when I basically die.  I need to lose weight.  Period.
 
Bye bye scones.


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Intelligence, Ambiguity and the SONY Hack

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[Since I wrote this blog post, I came across evidence that maybe the NSA does actually know what happened. See https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/19/world/asia/nsa-tapped-into-north-korean-networks-before-sony-attack-officials-say.html]

I am slowly going to get around to the issue of who perpetrated the SONY hack. I am pretty sure that whoever it was executed a fishing expedition and that Amy Pascal was a victim but not an original target. Whoever this was hoped there would be good stuff in the emails, and of course they started from the top down, and released a bunch of stuff and hoped that some of it would cause trouble and they were right. The first rule is to not put anything in email you would not want to see in the NY Times. Yesterday I read what was supposedly the supposedly horrible content of the Pascal/Rudin dialog about Obama and some actor, and you know, it's not enough in my mind to have caused this level of reaction. What they said was that someone of a certain ethnic group likes to see positive depictions of that ethnic group in film, I think. And that a specific actor wanted money for work they wanted him to do and that they did not want to pay him. Big whoopie. So Amy goes into independent production but that does not make SONY any more or less racist. Thank goodness they were not discussing Michael Jackson. What a mess that would have been!

I had not realized that the DOJ had in fact filed a case against a mysterious Korean who N. Korea says does not exist. So while the USA may be ineffectual, and FBI Counterintelligence was not able to protect our poor, helpless SONY executives, we did step up to the plate to formally complain and so I retract my inflammatory statement that we did nothing. There isn't much they can do after the fact. The issues of N. Korea, who our government believes did this hack, see below, are complicated. We are already doing what we can short of war to rein those maniacs in. Our State Department's worst fear is that Kim is deposed and the whole sucking puddle of shit collapses and we have a real mess. We may look back in nostalgia to the days of Kim and SONY and say, "Wow, wasn't that great! We didnt know how great it was."

As outsiders to the world of intelligence, we can not really know with certainty what is going on, but if you pay attention, and watch over time, then there are things you can know, up to a point. Sometimes you may have to wait but even then it's not as if you can prove anything to everyone's satisfaction. There are classic examples here. We knew the government thought that Julius & Ethel Rosenberg were guilty but the real evidence, not the stuff presented in court, was withheld for 30 + years and that is one of the reasons that, decades later, they went public with Venona and many people still dont believe it. (1) Many cases are not brought to trial because the intelligence community is not willing to expose the evidence and by definition the sources. There are mysteries about the Ellsberg matter, mysteries that have never been resolved, that if anyone knows the answer to, they are not talking. Pretty much everyone thinks the Warren Commission was a coverup but of what? It was only recently that I finally heard a theory that I believe in... that it was a CIA fuckup but not the way most people believe. (2) But do I really know? Of course not.

N. Korea has proven to be a plucky little nation even if they are really annoying. They came this close to winning the Korean war at the beginning. They are probably behind one of the most successful counterfeiting operations in the history of counterfeiting. (3) And who can forget their recent sinking of a S. Korean destroyer? Or the assassination of a relative of Kim by secret agents? Or the fabulous operation using the Yakuza to steal from Japanese ATMs that involved a hack involving banks, special ATM cards and intense rules. (4) N. Korea has proven their capability in this area over and over again. They are a player in cybercrime and cyberwar. They have the capability to execute the SONY hack, many believe. But if not them, who?

Some believe that the hack was perpetrated by an individual or perhaps a small team of disgruntled SONY employees as an extortion plot and that the demand to withdraw the famous satirical film about a fictional Kim was just cover. I know that some cybersecurity officials believe that there is evidence that the hack was perpetrated by a state actor. These things are not all that subtle, you know. There is a level of skill and of effort over time that is found with state hacking operations in contrast to talented individuals or groups like Anonymous or private criminal groups. And generally each of these groups have a track record and leave a series of clues that indicate modus operandi.

I know that generally the DOJ does not file a case in this kind of thing unless they think they have enough evidence that can be presented in open court should it ever come to trial. But maybe they knew this would never come to trial so they decided to use this as a way to embarrass N Korea, which is basically impossible because they are shameless, but whatever. Cui bono? One could make a case for the disgruntled insiders who eventually released the material to make good their threat did it. And of course the N. Koreans could have done it and had motivation.

But do I really know, no I dont. If someone knows for sure, through unspecified intelligence sources, well I cant know about that. I havent seen the evidence and I am not qualified to evaluate it. In the absence of a plausible candidate or candidates for the insider theory, and for all I know there is such a candidate but no one is talking about it because it is defamation in the absence of good evidence, I think, then I propose that the most plausible candidate is N. Korea. I will probably never know for sure. That is the fate of most judgments or assessments that we make about intelligence matters. In the absence of a confession, and maybe not even then, we can not be sure.




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1. A pretty good description is at https://www.osti.gov/opennet/manhattan-project-history/Events/1945-present/venona.htm. But if you dont believe it, then by all means go to the NSA site on Venona and there is much more detail. There are people who to this day deny that Ethyl knew what Julius was up to which is, frankly, ridiculous. There are others who say that even if they were spies, their work did not really help the Soviets. People will believe whatever they want to believe. I would not be surprised to hear that some people believe that Venona is a fake and was made up to frame the Rosenbergs. How could I possibly know?

2. An article I read by an academic who studies the JFK assassination believes that recently released evidence shows what some people believed at the time. That the CIA knew more than they were saying and that they had been tracking Oswald in Mexico City, had tapped his phone, knew that he had visited various embassies, knew that he was up to no good. Then instead of acting, or communicating their concerns to FBI Counterintelligence, they just dropped it. And when JFK got shot by their guy, Oswald, they knew that no one would believe that they had not had a hand in it or that they could be so stupid as to not warn anyone so they suppressed the information about how much they knew. That is one theory which may be supported by the evidence, but as you know, there is a lot of evidence and a lot of controversy about that evidence. It would take maybe a year, probably more, just to review the evidence that is public and form some sort of conclusion that is actually informed.

3. This is so much harder to do than most people realize. Yes, North Korea, may have had help. I certainly hope so. And N. Korea is not the only source of these dollars. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdollar.

4. See https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/04/26/the-incredible-rise-of-north-koreas-hacking-army

Suicide Squad and Behavioral Animation

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Behavioral animation in Suicide Squad.  Go rats, go!  Save the world!





Suicide Squad and Little Birdies

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If you look carefully, you will find little animated birdies in the scenes with Harley Quinn exterminating the soldiers of the presidential palace.






Its attention to the details that can make a film great.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Murder and Bipartisanship

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Not going to do a great job here so work with me. Global climate change will make life miserable for possibly billions of people, it has already affected hundreds of millions. But the cause of this disaster, our political elites and the elites that control them, is decades in the making, and those who are most guilty will live their lives in nearly perfect security, although their children will hate them for their greed because they will know the real story even if they dont admit it. But in this country we are watching a hideous little corrupt nightmare in real time in which the followers of the Republican cult are the victims of the latest coronavirus variant, sweeping through the unvaccinated like a sword of gods vengeance wielded by an angel of justice, who beg for the vaccine as they are intubated at the hospital, cursing the republican murder swine who lied to them and begging for their lives. And you can be sure that the failed and corrupt justice system of this country will not do a damn thing about it, this deliberate murder of thousands if not 10s of thousands if not more of the stupid followers of this so called political party. Probably only those who die or their relatives will see in its true horror what was done to them, but those of us who are not members of the cult have to watch this horror and know for certain that the murder of our fellow citizens will not be avenged. And then there will be a call for "bipartisanship" that we should compromise with these murderers who only want to destroy this country. Who, therefore should we negotiate with? Can we not at least demand that they elect new leaders as the old ones, the Ted Cruz's and McCarthys and so forth, have hands dripping with blood. Shall we negotiate with them? About what, exactly?

A little melodramatic, true, but you get the point. And what is beautiful is that while Trump killed a half million Americans, they were from all political beliefs. But now his representatives in federal and state legislatures and the pundits from hell spout deadly venom and kill their own followers.

What philosophy should I use to explain this? Platonic? Liberalism? Laissez Faire capitalism?

Sunday, July 25, 2021

The Move Continues and the State Fails

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I will talk to a lawyer in a week to understand my rights in this situation.  This unexpected and incredibly destructive and stress inducing move.  My guess is that while I could prolong this situation, I probably dont need to so I probably won't.  But it might be fun to understand the rules and throw these people a fuck because they sure deserve it.

I have written a letter explaining why the libel they said about me is wrong and encourage them to do better in the future. I will deliver it right before or after I move.

My patron has graciously extended a benefit which will allow me to live in the area, see and complete the procedures with the dentist in Westlake Village, and pursue in a modest way the UCSB thing.

The state has failed to protect the people so what are they good for?