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The Matrix

Journal Journal: Foley is a Fake 18

Kidnapped in Libya, got away. Kidnapped in Syria, "beheaded".

Orange jump suit? Not even b-movie material. Edited from hours of footage, Photoshopped and Premiered to forensic nonsense - and hey! Look, they cut a different place than the "severed head" was separated.

He is probably dead. That's what happens to CIA screws.

You remember, don't you? Like Nick Berg...

It's all fake, turtles. All the way down.

United States

Journal Journal: Why Ferguson Is Just the Beginning of Future America 12

by Malooga
lifted from a comment

@154 luca kasks: "Why don't you people wait for all the facts to come in?"

Facts are not like beloved relatives coming in to visit on cherished holidays; facts are like murdered ex-collaborators, to be secretly disappeared and buried deep in some dank forgotten hole in the ground.

Facts, for the ruling class, are dangerous beasts. Myths and stories are far safer fare.

Facts may escape unexpectedly at the very beginning of an event, before proper control systems are in place, after that all one is likely to get is the official story, or if that fails, the official fall-back position.

How could one get what is going on geopolitically by following this blog, and not get that the same conditions and principles of domination, control and brutalization operate similarly on a local scale?

Perhaps it might be helpful to detail those conditions and principles in order to remind ourselves what the theater in which these events take place is truly like, both for the residents of places like Ferguson, and for the police who manage those residents.

The war on drugs was not a war against drugs. It was a war for the ultra-rich rulers to control and profit from the cash streams of illegal drug profits, to finance un-sellable illegal wars, a method of destabilizing other countries through drug addiction, and a method of criminalizing the intentional poverty and hopelessness of the bottom 30%, or more, of the domestic population. (See: US protection of heroin in southeast Asia and Afghanistan, CIA crack distribution in US cities, Gary Webb, etc.)

The "War on Terror" is virtually the same thing: An outright war on the poor, and a destabilization of territories the empire does not control outright. Additionally, like drugs, the "war" is largely synthetic, that is to say, fake and victimless, where the perpetrators have to be secretly sponsored to create an artificial enemy, with what Rowan Berkeley accurately termed "pseudo-gangs."

These wars are not real, in the sense that the problems as described are not real; and, such problems as may exist, are intentionally handled so as to exacerbate them, and reinforce the problem-reaction-solution dynamic.

Drugs are not a problem to be eradicated, rather, they are a medium to be employed, a means to an end. Terror, as we know, is not even a thing, it is just a tactic. You can't criminalize a tactic, but you can employ it as a means to an end.

I don't need to remind you that the US, the "land of the free," has the largest -- in absolute and relative terms -- prison population on the planet. And the vast, vast, vast majority of those who are imprisoned are there for victimless crimes.

But that's not all. Because if you grow up in the projects, and you raise your kid right, and miraculously manage to keep him away from guns and gangs, you still face two more daunting hurdles: poverty and police violence.

Let's start with poverty. Official unemployment rates are lied over, real rates can be many times higher, and many in the projects can find no work at all, or only part-time work, without benefits, in a fast food joint. Lack of work equals lack of money, which equals lack of education, which equals lack of opportunity and work, and so on, in an endless vicious cycle.

Domestically, a new war is underway: an outright war on the poor, where those who can't -- because of unemployment or other reasons -- keep up with their financial obligations are threatened with imprisonment for non-payment of bills, taxes, child support, court fees, parking tickets, etc. Indeed, we as a society have regressed to the days of Oliver Twist and workhouses. Prisoners must work for their keep these days as low cost producers for corporations, and quaint notions like labor laws or minimum wages do not apply to them.

Prisons have been privatized, and prisoners are just another commodity to be profited from in the capitalist system, like pork bellies, or wheat futures. Judges, like police, have been proved to have quotas: they are expected to meet a production goal where, like a factory worker, a certain number of people must be imprisoned each month or year. After all, the owners of these prisons are top campaign contributors, and they provide "jobs" to the local economy, so they must be kept happy. Cops, like judges, are under pressure to do their part in maintaining prison occupancy rates.

Any fool can see that this is not a description of a society, as anthropologists might have studied 100 years ago, but of a catabolic process, whereby a sick or diseased body (politic) greedily consumes itself on the way to the grave. And, as they quietly lament around my way, "it is what it is."

And yet, it is worse: for those that escape these first three evils -- drugs, the "war on terror" and poverty -- which I have briefly detailed, there is a fourth evil to be circumvented: what the sociologists call "structural violence." And this takes two forms. The first comes in the form of what psychiatrists term "frustration aggression." Watch industrially raised chickens, confined to 2/3 of a square foot of cage space, artificial lighting, and a diet of drugs and GMO feedstock engage in vicious acts of cannibalism, and you will get a sense of what that is. The ghetto is a similarly sociologically confined space, and frustration and the inability to cope or escape can lead to misplaced violence or acting out against others.

The second type of violence is institutionalized violence, where, in an intentional process of social engineering, one group or class of people is taught to hate and fear another group or class. This is the process that I, employing Gregory Bateson's insights, term schismogenesis. It is divide and rule at its most base level: Civil wars, genocide, pogroms, mob violence, etc.

And yes, the police are deeply inculcated in perpetuating institutional violence. They are trained to both hate and fear the public they lord over. And the system is not accidental, by any means. The police on the beat, the SWAT teams, the civic snipers, etc. -- these are people of rather limited intellectual abilities in understanding how the entire geopolitical system works. They are, by nature, not curious in that way -- rather, they are ordinary people who value fitting in, convention, tradition, and law and order in society. In other words, they buy into the myths of our society, its "freedom," and "liberty," and "goodness of purpose," and "rightness of heart," and "exceptionalism," lock, stock, and barrel. And they expect others to buy in as well in order to be "good" patriotic Americans. After all, "if you are not with us, you are against us," as George Bush Jr. explained in one of his few elegantly articulate formulations. Therefore, the police are vulnerable to being easily propagandized.

They are then compartmentalized in knowledge, grouped into subgroups, and endlessly trained and drilled in hate and fear of the official "enemy" of the day, and then trained in techniques of the highest level of violence in thwarting the alleged goals of these enemies. Police no longer make use of bobby clubs, they are now given the elite weapons of war that our soldiers use in combat. They watch movies to see how these weapons are employed. And to seal the deal, they are given special classes, trainings and drills from the same "specialists" on "terror" that train our military because the American way of subversion always includes making people feel special. Now, they are not dumb cops anymore, they are well trained, and they are told that they are our elite guard protecting the "homeland" from those who hate our ways of freedom.

They are also economically privileged compared to the people of places like Ferguson. Police have unions, and theirs are probably the only labor unions in America today not under constant attack from the ruling class. So they get generous overtime, benefits, can buy houses and raise kids in safety outside of the leviathan that I am describing. They also, to a certain extent, benefit from the inequalities of society. So they look down on those they are policing and look up to their betters: The wealthy and those who are experts in the "threats facing society today." Go to a real wealthy neighborhood, and the cops don't have that same smug attitude. They address you as "Sir" or Ma'am." If they have to pull you over for having a headlight out, they can be downright apologetic -- after all, you may be a judge or a city councilman. They know who their betters are, and now they act like public servants, albeit a little falsely servile. This is obviously not the case in Ferguson, where the number of police stops annually is greater than the population of the town, and arrests are similarly elevated.

Finally, police on the force for any length of time must face the complete corruption of our society: They know that justice is a farce. They know who the drug dealers are, the money runners, the pimps, the bought politicians, and judges -- the whole nine yards. And they know that there is no will to change any of this. Moreover, they have no power over any of this: They can either choose to be complicit in the corrupt system, or keep to themselves and hope for the best not to be set up one day as a patsy.

Thus, police in our society live in a state of total cognitive dissonance, what one might call an ethical double-bind. They are forced to see that on one hand, we are supposedly the greatest society ever; on the other hand, life is hopelessly brutal and corrupt. They must believe in, or at least publicly pay lip service, to the myths they are sworn to uphold: the wars on drugs and terror; the promise of progress and a quasi-religious kind of civic and moral redemption -- that if you just keep your nose clean and work hard, you can escape the poverty of the ghetto they police; and that we live in a just society in which they are the protectors of that justice. Meanwhile, they like everyone else in America, watches as the whole system is rapidly breaking down. They know that there are no real jobs for the people of Ferguson, and that, like in the movie, "TheTruman Show," the residents cannot escape the set.

This double bind is of course unresolvable. So police themselves, under tremendous internal strain, resort to the same frustration-aggression, and unexpected violent lashing out, in order to cope.

Under these conditions, the only power police have is over the people in the community they are supposed to serve. And the only way they can demonstrate that power is by acting out brutally and violently.

Sociologists and criminologists know that the methods police are taught and trained in don't work, just as economists know that "trickle down" really means "flow up." Gentler methods involving community involvement, restorative justice, etc. have all been worked out and proved to work. But the new methods actually do work, only for different purposes and to different ends: they frighten and cower populations, they allow one group to dominate another, they isolate people and pit them against each other in fruitless zero-sum games, and they destroy human lives, values, and charitableness. In sum, they control people, and allow them to be selectively harvested for profit, like a slowly maturing cash crop in the sweltering St. Louis summer heat.

And, community policing, bad as it is these days, does not even compare to the violence perpetrated by the new elite SWAT teams. These groups are as brutal as the teams used to clear houses in Iraq -- and no surprise there, for they are taught the same methods: If it moves, take it out.

And that brings us back to the police. Under the conditions I have just detailed, under the impossible constraints they forced to endure, how can they not be violent, at least some of the time. And how can they, as an organized force, not be violent in a systematic manner. Perhaps not all the time, but more often than not the social forces which police work under these days force violence to be propagated down in a systematic and totalizing manner.

And it is the awareness of all that I have described that causes many commenters here to reflexively assume police lies and violence to be ubiquitous. I hope that this is more understandable now. It is not a judgment of an individual's (the cop who shot Michael Brown) -- who one obviously doesn't know well -- moral value, rather it is an holistic appraisal of the social and material conditions of our society today, in which the American underclass, and their handlers, seek to operate.

Therefore, as for the police themselves, yes, perhaps out of the many hundreds of cases a year like this of police murder, corruption, assault, brutality, cover-up, bribery, theft, etc., there are possibly a few that were accidental, unintentional, or even false charges. If that were to be the case -- which appears practically impossible -- the facts would get out -- unless the cop were being intentionally set up. But, to focus on this petty detail, and insist upon its importance to the bigger picture, is to miss that bigger picture altogether. I hope we can all see this.

Posted by b on August 20, 2014 at 06:49 AM Permalink

United States

Journal Journal: Funny? Racist, dishonest hypocrisy. 10

How the pro-Reagan "Get Government off Our BACKS" crowd is really bending over, to excuse and endorse the SWATting of Ferguson.

Racist, dishonest hypocrisy.

If it was a white rancher that set off the same events, they'd be going all "Obama dictatorship" and FEMA death-camp.

You see, they are trained to hate and fear COLOUR - not power, which they adore.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Rant: Untrusted Data from the Source 4

While trying to load test data, we found duplicates (based on the unique key) in the provided file. So, the BA (English is not her first language) asked them:

Does the test file present valid business scenarios?

The response

Test data is never as constrained as production data - we have a lot of [...] users setting up test data every day for a lot of different reasons plus there will be historic test data that has been abandoned after either successful or failed tests - it can never be said that test data is as clean as production data ... but I would expect that comment to apply to most if not all applications

Really?? Test data is not constrained? I understand that test data can be bogus, but unconstrained?? What exactly is the purpose of this test data then? I can supply Lorem Ipsum myself.

Another question:

If combination of [two columns] doesn't provide [main id] uniqueness as it was discussed and stated in use case, what would be additional attribute(s) defining [main id] uniqueness?

A simple question asking how to resolve duplicates when we were not expecting any.

The repsonse:

[The two columns] code combination is unique from a Business perspective - do not re-design your [application] tables
I would however expect you to have exception processing in your load job (as [their application] does for all its inbound feeds) e.g. if you try to load something to a table and it can't load for whatever reason (a duplicate or whatever) you would write it to an exception report

Really?? We need an exception report? If they are the trusted source they are supposed to be, any error in the file should completely reject the file as bad, not just individual records, because any bad data means the entire file is suspect.

In general, i am against writing exception code in the database. (See Tom Kyte's posts on the topic for related concerns.) Exceptions, by definition, are unexpected. Handling an exception means they are expected. Only the calling system should handle unexpected errors, the reason being, as it is unexpected we do not know what to do. It's then up to the calling system to decide what its output will be.

To be fair, they do not expect duplicates, and it might just be an issue with the test data. But the whole attitude of "exception reports" is absurd. In short, the source system's team doesn't care about their own data.

This happened to me before on a different team when were to receive data from another team. I noted the absurdity of some of the dates (worst offender was a business that started ~400 CE) . When i notified their BA, he asked me to fill out a request to have it fixed. IOW, they wanted our team to pay to fix their bad data. That case is embarrassing for me as i lost my cool with their BA. When he asked me what we wanted in our feed, i told him to give whatever he wanted as we would not trust his information (more than we had to).

Crime

Journal Journal: What they want you to think 6

So... Brown was going to college in a few days, but he decided to rob a store beforehand because that's what undergrads do or something. But they found dope in his system, which also proves that in addition to being a violent "thug" (though not one armed with the prerequesite cola and skittles) he was also a drugged out maniac. And the store refused to call 911 because, uh, not sure, but there's probably a bad reason for it. So later when a cop happened to find him jaywalking it was probably OK to ki... no, that's too strong a word, put him to sleep, because thug.

So here's white currently suburban (and British urban anyway, so that doesn't count) me thinking none of this makes sense even if you're trying to tug at any prejudices of mine.

One problem is that Brown being on dope explains the robbery and why the store didn't feel any strong inclination to call 911. Kinda. Well, based on an experience of mine anyway. Thing is, about 25 years ago I'm buying a cheese and onion sandwich from a newsagent in Oxford. In walks a (white, FWIW) man who is obviously stoned. Student probably. Tries to find something to eat, and then has an argument with the store owner who (1) wants him to wait until he's finished serving me and (2) wants him to pay. "Dope fiend" (heh) then loses his temper, swears, makes a lot of comments that sound like a Slashdotter moaning about having to buy music (except about groceries not music), upends a small rack of merchandise near the door, and leaves the store.

Store owner is pissed, but sees no need to call 999. This guy isn't a real threat to anyone. The damage is slight. The situation may resolve itself once the would-be customer sobers up anyway.

Of course, follow this line of reasoning and Brown isn't a thug (I keep emphasizing that word, you know why...) but someone with temporarily poor judgement who was, by default, in a more mellow frame of mind despite appearances at the store.

Which, while I wasn't there, is certainly consistent not with Brown somehow being threatening to the officer that killed him, but initially (while there was no threat) likely to mouth of, and then when the situation turned threatening, more than a little paranoid and likely compliant with the (justifiably, as it turned out) scary cop: that is to say, I think despite the Ferguson police trying to smear Brown as a doped up thug, everything is consistent with the eyewitness accounts that say otherwise.

A few days before going to college Brown, apparently, smoked dope, leading to a series of events where a cop thought he could get away with executing him. Even replacing the more mellow attitude of British police with their authoritarian and mildly corrupt American counterparts, I don't think my white fellow shopper 20 years ago would ever have been shot if caught jaywalking afterwards. Given not merely the attempt to smear Brown, but the type of smear used, which seems to be used all too often, I think he was shot because certain elements in the US, and apparently many are in law enforcement, believe blacks belong to a less human class than the rest of us.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Guardians of the Galaxy 1

Took my family to see Guardians of the Galaxy last night. I had only heard good stuff about it and it was a fun movie. What's funny is I thought it was pretty good while my wife and kids thought it was amazing. My son kept going on about it and my wife said she wanted to go watch it again. Usually with a film like this it would be the other way around and I'd be the one who was more enthusiastic. Funny.

The Matrix

Journal Journal: The New Voter's Guide 5

Republican Party: Far RIght Fascist
Democratic Party: Center Right Fascist
Conservative Tory: Far Right Fascist
New Labour: Right Fascist
Liberal Democrats: Center Right Twats

United States

Journal Journal: ONION: Tips For Being An Unarmed Black Teen 14

  • Shy away from dangerous, heavily policed areas.
  • Avoid swaggering or any other confident behavior that suggests you are not completely subjugated.
  • Be sure not to pick up any object that could be perceived by a police officer as a firearm, such as a cell phone, a food item, or nothing.
  • Explain in clear and logical terms that you do not enjoy being shot, and would prefer that it not happen.
  • Don't let society stereotype you as a petty criminal. Remember that you can be seen as so much more, from an armed robbery suspect, to a rape suspect, to a murder suspect.
  • Try to see it from a police officer's point of view: You may be unarmed, but you're also black.
  • Avoid wearing clothing associated with the gang lifestyle, such as shirts and pants.
  • Revel in the fact that by simply existing, you exert a threatening presence over the nation's police force.
  • Be as polite and straightforward as possible when police officers are kicking the shit out of you.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/tips-for-being-an-unarmed-black-teen,36697/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Pic:1:Default

United States

Journal Journal: Sinjar Mountain was a Hoax. No Yazidi Massacre, Intervention 7

  • There were no WMD in Iraq, 2003.
  • Ghadafi didn't hand out Viagra.
  • Saddam didn't toss Kuwaiti babies out of incubators.
  • The Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.
  • German troops did not cut off the hands of Belgium school kids.
  • Mexican troops did not cross the Rio Grande into Texas.
  • The Spanish did not sink the Maine.
User Journal

Journal Journal: AZ and back on Nvidia 3

Got my main machine running with the Nvidia card again. I crack myself up. It seems to be working o.k. so far. We'll see how long it lasts.
 
Being in Arizona this summer was nice. It was crazy hot of course. That's the norm. But it has been a while since I'd been able to really enjoy the desert. I did miss it. I love the big sky, the cactus, the beautiful sunsets and the smell. We had some storms and there is a very unique odor that is a wet Sonoran desert. I love it. It brought back a lot of memories from my childhood.
 
Our family got to go to a Diamondback's game and timed it very well as they won, which is something they aren't doing a lot this season. It was a lot of fun for my son, who is a big baseball fan. In fact, a friend let him be a part of time with a batting coach once a week while we were home. That was very generous and was great for my boy as well. There is little league in Hungary but not the same level of resources as in the US.
 
We went out shooting one day. What could be more American than that? It was a lot of fun for my kids. A very strange thing has happened while we were away. It is pretty much impossible to buy .22 ammunition near where we lived. I don't know the causes but it was crazy. I have a couple .22 rifles and a .22 pistol that I thought would be great for the kids to shoot. I couldn't find ammunition for them anywhere. Fortunately I had friends who were able to give me some.
 
I have a lot of friends who are gun enthusiasts and I don't know if my kids appreciated the variety of weapons they got to try out. They did have fun - though I couldn't afford to do that too often, even if we did still live there. I always enjoyed archery a bit more. No need for hearing protection, less expensive over time and no cleaning when you are done. But still the fun challenge of hitting a target from a distance.
 
We spent a week up in the mountains. I took the family to Woods Canyon Lake, up on the rim. It was super, super busy. The campgrounds were all full and the lake was pretty crowded. We were driving out and my son says, "It would be cool to see an elk." I said, "You wont see any around here today. Way too many people around for that." Not two minutes later here comes an elk with a big beautiful rack just wandering on through. We pulled over and watched it for a while. I'm guessing it's become accustomed to people. That's not good - but it was cool to see.
 
I think next time we visit Arizona (probably in 2 or 3 years) we'll hike Havasupai and the Grand Canyon. The kids will be old enough and it will be a good chance for us to do something like that together before the kids start leaving the nest.It is hard for me to think that we've come that far.
 
Oh - back to the gun thing quickly - my kids were worried about getting shot at all the time. It's funny how crazy that aspect of American life is when you've stepped outside of it for a while. I had to keep reassuring them that they were not in constant danger of being gunned down. They hear about shootings in the US so much, and it's something that pretty much never happens in Hungary. I didn't realize how much they'd thought about it though or how it worried them until we got home. I used to be a big pro gun ownership guy but not so much any more.
 
That said - I don't plan on getting rid of the guns I do own there. If we moved back I would teach my kids to be more proficient with them. As long as the laws are the way they are I think it's better to take that approach. And it was nice for the times we were in areas where I was concerned about animals. I didn't normally carry but I did in a few situations where I knew we might run across javelina and some other critters.
 
I don't think there's much else of note. It was great to see friends and family but I don't need to record any of those details here. Oh - movies. We say Edge of Tomorrow. Pretty good. Also went and saw the latest Transformers. Not the best but still delivered what I want most out of that kind of movie - giant robots fighting. I watched Pacific Rim on the flight over. That movie really delivered. What else did I watch on planes? Grand Budapest Hotel. Rather charming I thought. Fiennes is an amazing actor. The new Captain America which I thought was pretty week. I can't remember what else I watched. I know at least one other movie. You know what else? Americans love to talk about movies. We really do. Not necessarily to any depth but more recommending them to one another, recounting favorite scenes, etc. It's funny how often we do that. I wish I could remember the other one I watched on the plane. My kids watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman. I was napping then but caught a bit of it on their screens. OH - when we saw Transformers they had a trailer for The Giver. I just read that a couple months ago. Judging by the trailer they are pulling a Running Man. The movie will vaguely resemble the book - sort of. But all amped up hollywood style.
 
All right - back to work.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Verbiage: New Scrabble dictionary and related musings

Merriam-Webster has released the The Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, Fifth Edition. Although they list it for $25.95, Amazon currently has it at $6.83. I plan to purchase one soon.

NASPA, the North American SCRABBLE Players Association, has the The Official Tournament and Club Word List, 2014 Edition for $22 until Aug 13, then it goes up to $24.95. However, you have to be a member to purchase it, meaning it costs $30 more. Though, a trial membership should be good enough, which is a cheaper $15.

The difference between the two is twofold. One, the dictionary has been purged of offensive words whereas the full list has all words. Two, the dictionary includes definitions and other forms, whereas the list does not.

Getting the dictionary and printing up the delta might be the best option to all the word on the cheap, nice as an "official" version may be.

Speaking of lists, there are many. I have two and three letter word lists printed up, besides the 70% vowel list and a few bingo lists based on RETINA and the like. They are all grossly out of date, so i'll probably print up new ones when i'm sure they are using the new words. Last time i printed up two copies of everything except the longer three word list. My brother and i play with the lists and the dictionary available. It's just so much more fun that way.

NASPA has the long list, words of ten to fifteen letters, available. I'd like to print that up too, though i'd like to find an easy way to wrap it for more efficient use of the paper.

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