Wednesday, March 24, 2010

TAKE NOTE

On schedule, Blogger ends FTP-publishing on May 1.

Although I haven't updated this page in a few weeks, I did include a redirect to the active new blog on this domain. Which is described in the Blogger banner at the top of the page.

DD used Blogger from May 2006 to earlier this year. Over half of that span the ride was smooth. After which Blogger problems with FTP turned it into a cranky experience culminating in Google's decision to pull the plug on throwing the blog files to a remote domain not in its cloud earlier this year.

So DD is still live, just not using this application anymore. Commenting on posts already in the archives made by Blogger will also go dead.

If you haven't switched locations on the domain, a redirect will take you to blog.dickdestiny.com in a few ticks.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

IF YOU MISSED THEM

Remember, we turn into pumpkins here at the end of March, maybe sooner.

On the new old DD blog:

No Fighting in the War Room!

Energy Utopia ... not here.

Hotel California 1.0

Hotel California 2.0

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

UPDATES: MONDAY, TUESDAY

What you may have missed:

The Mighty Omega to Bumwine's Alpha -- here.

The US military's usual big plans with ray guns -- here.

Robin Hood and banksters -- here.

Promote Your Local Synthetic Biologist stuff -- here.

Standard influence peddling -- here.

More ray gun news -- we have the biggest johnson -- here.

Friday, February 12, 2010

OVER THERE


"...I don't like you. You're fat, wealthy, your liberal sensibilities ..."

I drag out some old rock 'n' roll.

Comic book stuff due to Tea Partiers and liberal sensibilities.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WEDNESDAY'S ACTION

Combined, all over here.

Individually, here and here.

If you missed the last announcement, Blogger is killing its FTP-publishing at the end of March. Plagued with problems for quite some time, as described here and here -- Blogger has decided to pull the plug.

In its words, sent in e-mail to its FTP-publishers, the work expended on maintaining the service was not justified by the number of bloggers using it.

This was a matter of some argument among the populace but the decision is done. For the bloody details one can read Blogger help forums.

For the time being, I've decided I'll part ways with Blogger rather than take my chances with its 'migration wizard' for taking a blog back to the hive.

However, the adventure illustrates two things.

Number One: Decision-making from Google properties is frequently not in your favor. This can be a severe or minor problem. If it is the former, there's never an appeal. If it decides to do something and this inconveniences or maims you, then you must just deal with it.

Number Two: Support from Blogger is like living on grub street. So is support from whatever you choose to replace it. Alternatives tend not to be that much better. That's just the way the world works.

I'll continue to post updates and explanations on this blog into March and try not to let you miss anything. But the action is now on the other side of the hill, so to speak.

Terms subject to change without notice.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

CULT OF EMP CRAZY

"This is subhuman idiocy."

Occasionally one comes across an editorial in a US newspaper that almost knocks you out of your chair.

Not often does one see an editorial-like thing condemning the usual imprecations to bomb Iran because that country will eventually launch an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States.

How did the sane person get a permissions slip to opine?

Barry Kissin of the Frederick News Post writes:

I just read "How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran" by Daniel Pipes, visiting fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institution of Stanford University. When I first read the title, I was certain this had to be satirical. It's not! His first point: "[Obama's]counterterrorism record barely passes the laugh test.

It continues:

Pipes then points out that the way for Obama to consolidate popular support is to act tough, you know, start another war. Pipes follows with the polls (Zogby, Pew, Los Angeles Times, Fox News) that all show that a definite majority of Americans favor "using the [U.S.] military to attack and destroy the facilities in Iran which are necessary to produce a nuclear weapon."

How about this from Pipes: "Eventually, [Iran] could launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States, utterly devastating the country." And: "Taking out Iran's nuclear facilities ... would require few 'boots on the ground' and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack more politically palatable." And: "Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush's meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama's feckless first year ... " And the clincher: "[T]he chance to do good and do well is fleeting. As the Iranians improve their defenses and approach weaponization, the window of opportunity is closing. The time to act is now ..."

However, Kissin's final line is most surprising. It is something most editors simply would not allow into a newspaper in 2010.

This is subhuman idiocy. It is also part of a long-standing pattern of criminal manipulation of the frightened and very misinformed.

Subhuman idiocy. That's unequivocal.

The entire piece is here.




By contrast, Pipes' material immediately gets wide duplication around the country, also immediately flying into the Jerusalem Post.

"I do not customarily offer advice to a president whose election I opposed, whose goals I fear and whose policies I work against," he writes. "But here is a way for Barack Obama to salvage his tottering administration by taking a step that protects the US and its allies."

When the electromagnetic pulse crazy/bomb Iran lobby launches a sally -- which is does once ever few months, the last one petering out in September at the Values Voter summit -- it always does so with perniciously admirable efficiency.

Everyone gets on the same page and makes a push into the opinion sections of US and foreign newspapers. And it always works.

In addition, the Cult of EMP Crazy lobby always comes up with a new catastrophic meme to sell the story of Iranian-launched electromagnetic pulse doom.

Usually, it has been the story that the US will be hurled back to the time of horse and buggy transportation, water drawn from the creek and shitting in out houses or trenches filled with lime.

Now, however, there's a new flavor of Gotterdammerung.

"EMP attack, our version of Haiti quake," trumpeted Clifford May for the Scripps Howard News Service very recently.

He writes, and this isn't satire:

President Obama has pledged $100 million to help Haiti recover from its recent earthquake. By coincidence, that’s precisely the amount that the [mumble] recommends be spent on measures it estimates would limit the damage resulting from an EMP event by 60 to 70 percent.

This is delivered in an essay which, as must be the case, brings up the Bomb Iran lobby's favorite story:

Think of a blackout, but one of indefinite duration — because we have no plan for recovery and could expect little or no help from abroad.

The EMP commission also reported that Iran — which is feverishly working to acquire nuclear weapons — has conducted tests in which it launched missiles and exploded warheads at high altitudes. And the CIA has translated Iranian military journals in which EMP attacks against the U.S. are explicitly discussed.

Might Iran’s rulers orchestrate such an attack if and when they acquire a nuclear capability?

That is a heated debate among defense experts.

That opinion piece is here.

For regular readers of DD blog and longtime observers of the the Washington DC Doom Club, May was warning about anthrax just in November.

"A scenario perhaps even more frightening: terrorists using biological weapons, setting off epidemics of smallpox, Ebola virus or other hemorrhagic fevers; a crop duster spreading 10 pounds of anthrax causing more deaths than in World War II."

That ran in the National Review on-line, under the heading -- Apocalypse When?

Alert readers will notice May always resorts to writing that potential enemy strikes will cause more casualties than America suffered in World War II.

On electromagnetic pulse attack by Iran, our equivalent of the Haiti quake , May writes:

When you consider that such an event — whether naturally occurring or a “man-caused disaster” — could cause trillions of dollars in damage and claim more lives than were lost in World War II ...

Readers will have also noted that it's not really a coincidence that Dan Pipes' Bomb Iran/EMP doom essay also ran in the National Review.

It's what's called a rigging. And one can't help but applaud the EMP Crazy lobby's talent for it. They're really good.




Cult of EMP Crazy -- from the archives.
FUNKY ROCK N ROLL



Dick Destiny plays Needle and Spoon

Here!

"Needle and Spoon" first appeared on Savoy Brown's Raw Sienna album from 1970. Penned by Chris Youlden, the band's gruff but soulful blues shouter, it has always been one of my favorite blues rock tunes.

I've kept the fast shuffling beat, added a bit more thumping acoustic guitar, plus a short fuzz solo tossed in behind a vocal imprecation. For just that old-timey feel.

No one in this edition of Savoy Brown was a heroin user so rack it up to bumping into other rock 'n' rollers in 1970 Blighty who were. There was no shortage.

For extra fun, consider the single to have a virtual B-side, "Internal Revenue Boogie," here.

Jolly good!

Gear: Roger Linn Design Adrenalinn III, lotsa guitars -- at least three.
REPRINT: JOB-OPENINGS AT THE CIA

Bed-wetters and office clowns not sought.

The next story took over a year to develop and carry out. I was writing for a newspaper’s features section but didn’t tell anyone about it until the work was finished.

It remains a great read, one I’m still very proud of. And it’s relevant to our current national security problems over a decade after publication.

“Name five CIA experts on anything. I can’t do it,” said a former CIA analyst to the New York Times [on one Sunday] (”Langley, We Have a Problem,” Tim Weiner).

I have written on substantive national security issues for the think-tank GlobalSecurity.Org and been quoted on them. While I’m not secret and classified, I did and do what CIA-men are supposed to do well but often don’t seem to. In the mainstream media, anyway.

On the old blog (here), this story steadily gained in readership over the past couple years.

And so I’ve elected to reprint it on the new blog, migrating it there for the eventual day I abandon Blogger.

Today, according to my Google Analytics chart, it’s one of the more frequently read pieces by people who apparently are searching for information on how to get hired by the CIA.

Good luck with it, if that's you. I’ve no idea if the procedures described here are still in place. More’s the pity if even a few are.

Anyway, can you imagine DD ever working for the CIA? [Insert crazy horselaugh.]

You can read the entire piece, with all the good stuff, here.

Monday, February 08, 2010

ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE CRAZY AND THE SHORT COUNT

In today's Washington Times, Arnaud de Borchgrave, often called 'the Short Count' behind closed doors, if he is called at all, writes about how a neocon thinks the Obama administration can save and revitalize the country.

Bomb Iran!

The Short Count writes:

Mr. Obama is floundering as he tries to reset his presidency on economics. Defense is sacrosanct. Either taxes go up, or entitlements go down, or both. On Capitol Hill, it's still burned toast for the president.

For centuries, leaders faced with insuperable domestic problems found escape in foreign distractions. In some cases, the distractions occurred suddenly and fortuitously, such as World War II, which started in Europe and pulled America out of the Great Depression.

President Obama isn't looking for such a distraction, but others have no pangs illuminating what they think is the way out of the "clueless in Washington" dilemma. Right-wing scholar-activist Daniel Pipes, a neocon icon, could not be more blunt: President Obama can "save" his presidency by bombing Iran. The fact that this also could cost him the presidency is not deemed worthy of discussion.


Continuing:

"Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran's nuclear weapons capacity. It would have the advantage of sidelining health care, push Republicans to work with Democrats, make Tea Party-ers jump for joy, conservatives and neoconservatives would swoon ecstatically."

In 2003, President George H.W. Bush appointed Mr. Pipes to the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace.


And what better way to promote peace than to advocate bombing. Even the President can get behind that in America.

So what else is there? Electromagnetic pulse crazy, that's what!

To reinforce the war party's arguments, Mr. Pipes also says that "the apocalyptic-minded leaders in Tehran" could eventually "launch an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the U.S., utterly devastating the country." His detractors dismiss EMP alarmism as flimflam. But they are wrong. EMP is a very real concern of those who ponder future asymmetrical threats.

Those durned accusers of flimflam'd be us (as in here and here and other places) and Armchair Generalist.

To summarize: One would be hard-pressed to imagine a bigger instance in which a group of people offer themselves up for deserved ridicule.

If a thing is backed up by hard science [like global warming or evolution], the Republican party denies its existence. If, however ... something [is] rather abstract to almost all Americans, rests almost entirely on theoretical prediction, is ... not likely to ever occur at all, and then only in the context of what would promise to be an all out nuclear war, [like electromagnetic pulse doom], the GOP extreme right believes in it very strongly.

And so The Short Count writes, repeating the electromagnetic pulse crazy/bomb Iran lobby's favorite script of doom:

One Scud-type nuclear missile, fired from the cargo hold of a freighter off the East Coast, set to explode 75 miles up, could fry everything electrical in one-third of the United States, from every cell phone and computer to aircraft, trains, vehicles, elevators, and the entire government, including the Pentagon.




This comes to de Borchgrave through a Pipes article in National Review.

In it, Pipes writes:

Not only does a strong majority — 57, 52, 58, 61, and 61 percent in these five polls — already favor using force, but after a strike Americans will presumably rally around the flag, sending that number much higher.

Fourth, if the U.S.limited its strike to taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities and did not attempt any regime change, it would require few “boots on the ground” and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack more politically palatable.


DD had missed this but it is pointed out by Don Emmerich here.

Cult of EMP Crazies -- from the archives.
MORE SATAN'S BANK PLEASE

"During a recent protest outside his Walnut Street bank headquarters, OneWest CEO Terry Laughlin came down with the bank's head of mortgage services for a little face time with borrowers," reported the Pasadena Star-News recently.

"The idea was to 'reach out' Laughlin said, and see what he could do or say to help them with their home loans - which they angrily - and frequently - complain have yet to be modified."

And for the newspaper, Laughlin's interview was an attempt to 'reach out,' to counter the boatload of really bad press OneWest, or as it is called here -- Satan's Favorite Bank in Pasadena -- has accumulated over the past few months,

Message to CEO: It's not gonna help.

Banksters are less popular than soiled toilet paper on the bottom of one's shoe. And rightly so. Nothing can change that. And this is a good thing, not bad at all.

Nevertheless, OneWest's CEO told the newspaper that the giant vulture capitalism bank was now a community-oriented southern California bank interested in depositors and making affordable loans. And the newspaper could but go along because to get interviews like this one, the interviewee has to know that the interviewer won't be anything but a lickspittle. That's how America works.

The newspaper explained:

As of December, the bank, which entered the Obama administration's Making Loan's Affordable Program in August, had permanently modified 1,226 loans under the program, with 23,012 in the pipeline as trial modifications. If you count the loans modified under the FDIC's control of IndyMac before the purchase, total permanent modifications come to 15,000 ...

But readers know OneWest has been mostly publicized for foreclosing on people around the country rather than modify home mortgages.

This was explained in our Satan's Bank post thusly:

[OneWest] uses government guarantees for distressed assets in its rescue to ensure a profit on forclosures. In essence, the US government uses taxpayer money indemnifying OneWest against loss on a distressed property it owns, indeed guaranteeing a certain good amount of profit on it. It is the very essence of vulture crony capitalism and its main purpose, socially, is profit for OneWest through capitalization of the very badness of its former self through the working over of subprime mortgage holders.

"The realities of the economy - unemployment, lack of income - are at odds with a key term of the government's loan-modification program: Borrowers who want better terms must be able to prove that their current monthly mortgage payment is more than 31 percent of their gross monthly income," OneWest's CEO told the Pasadena Star-News.

Dig the foreclosure news

DD dug into Google to find OenWest foreclosures nationwide during December and January.

It was at this time that negative publicity on OneWest reached something of a peak, forcing the company into a cosmetic measure. It said it would halt foreclosures during the holiday season.

If it did, it was hard to notice.

DD found OneWest foreclosures from Hawaii to Topeka to New Orleans and all the way to Vero Beach, Florida.

A Hawaii newspaper, for instance, noted OneWest owned at least 26 homes in that state. Meaning it had foreclosed on all of them.

DD found two OneWest foreclosures in Topeka -- one in mid-January, one about a week ago. And one in Boulder, Colorado, last mid-month.

On December 18, national publicity over a foreclosure in San Diego forced the company into p.r. defense.

"Just in time for Christmas, Brian Wofford has learned that his large family won’t be evicted from the house he mortgaged to the hilt after it was renovated for free five years ago on the ABC show 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,' reported the San Diego Union on December 18.

"Wofford, a widowed father of eight, is in default on his Encinitas house. He owes $770,000 after he refinanced several times and took out home-equity loans to get cash.

"He has been seeking a loan modification since 2007 and stopped making payments this year. The house was scheduled to be auctioned Dec. 14, but the Woffords received a last-minute reprieve from OneWest Bank after nationwide media coverage."

A week earlier, the New York Post ran a story on the opposite side of the country entitled: LI MOM: Bank Strung Us Out.

"A Long Island family battling runaway medical bills for their two special-needs pre-schoolers are, days before Christmas, in danger of losing their house to foreclosure after their bank offered - and then retracted - three mortgage-modification plans, the frantic mother claims," reported the newspaper.

The story continued:

Caryn Fleming, of Miller Place, said she and her police officer husband were at first overjoyed at the lower monthly payments under the modification offers - but were then shocked back into a real estate hell when their bank, OneWest, said they didn't qualify for any modification because they made too much money.

"They knew exactly how much we made from the beginning of the process because they gave us our mortgage five years ago," Fleming said.

OneWest, which last month made the news after a Suffolk judge ripped up a bank mortgage because of its deceptive, underhanded ways, was dealing with 111,674 mortgages that were 60 or more days delinquent as of Nov. 30, according to the Obama administration's Making Home Affordable program.

The bank has extended 35,315 trial modification plans but has concluded zero permanent modifications, the Treasury Department reported this week.

Because the Flemings made reduced payments for 18 months - as instructed by the bank - they have accrued $40,000-plus in arrears and are facing eviction. Fleming said she recently offered to start making full mortgage payments and to pay off the arrears next October - when her husband retires from the NYPD. OneWest rejected the couple's offer, she said.


The Post also ran a story in late November on a judge's reprimand of OneWest:

A Long Island couple is home free after an outraged judge gave them an amazing Thanksgiving present -- canceling their debt to ruthless bankers trying to toss them out on the street.

Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner wiped out $525,000 in mortgage payments demanded by a California bank, blasting its "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive" acts.

The bombshell decision leaves Diane Yano-Horoski and her husband, Greg Horoski, owing absolutely no money on their ranch house in East Patchogue.

Spinner pulled no punches as he smacked down the bankers at OneWest -- who took an $814.2 million federal bailout but have a record of coldbloodedly foreclosing on any homeowner owing money.

OneWest's conduct was "inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious," Spinner wrote.

He canceled the debt because the bank "must be appropriately sanctioned so as to deter it from imposing further mortifying abuse against [the couple]."

The bank is involved in a similar case in California, where it's trying to foreclose on an 89-year-old woman, despite two court orders telling it to stop.


Stung by the whip of bad reviews, OneWest announced it was turning to charitable giving at the beginning of the new year.

"With a seed of $10 million, OneWest Bank announced this week that it has created a nonprofit foundation to help develop the communities it serves," reported Monterey County Herald on January 2.

"The Pasadena-based bank, which took over failed IndyMac in March, established the foundation 'to actively invest' in priorities such as affordable housing, health care, education, financial literacy and rehabilitating underserved communities, foundation bank officials said.

" 'We are very committed to supporting the community in meaningful ways through our charitable efforts, including significant contributions from our employees in community service activities,' " foundation Chairman Steven Mnuchin said in a statement."

Community service. Affordable housing. Fine words.

"The bank has 72 retail branches in Southern California and total assets of $24 billion," one news story on OneWest informs.

Let's see.

10 million / 24 billion = 0.000416666667

In other words, the amount is the OneWest/Satan's Bank equivalent of pocket lint. Maybe less.

Alms, alms for the poor!

And it is much like Goldman Sachs announcing it was getting into philanthropy after its banksters started to become afraid of potential fallout due to widespread public perception that they're evil.

Everyday DD walks past OneWest, either on the way to Ralphs or down to Colorado for a bit of a stretch.

Now OneWest has some rubbish in its windows about being a 'neighborhood bank'.




Satan's Favorite Bank in Pasadena -- from the archives.




The new improved Dick Destiny blog is now here. Or until something else bad happens.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO QUIT YOUR COUNTRY

Today's post comes courtesy of the parasite industry devoted to selling articles and services on how you can get a job in the dreadful economy.

DD cadged it off Yahoo a few weeks ago for it's especially ludicrous nature: How to know when to quit your job because the business you work for is dreadful. Well, that would be more than half of the jobs in the United States, at least, DD reckons.

So I've chosen to steal it and rebrand the thing as a test on how to know when to quit your dreadful, or dysfunctional, country.

10 Signs Your Country is Dysfunctional

Does the United States drive you crazy? Do you sometimes wonder if you are the only sane person living in it? Is America dysfunctional, or is it you? Here's how to find out!

Sign No. 1: Do large numbers of people in your country spout conspicuous value statements filled with vague but important-sounding words like "freedom" and so on.

Examples:

"America has the best healthcare in the world!" -- see here.

"They hate us for our freedom." -- see here.

"We've found each other and we've found our voice and we are determined to fight for our freedoms," says [a man who's last name is Scott], wearing a white 'Freedom Czar' baseball cap at the convention." -- see here.

These slogans are never based in reality. They're just rubbish statements used to end reasonable arguments or cheer-leading pap.

Sign No. 2: Bringing up a problem is considered more as evidence of a personality defect rather than as an actual observation of reality.

Example: "Those who oppose waterboarding are moral fools." -- see here.

In a dysfunctional country, if you don't adhere to a belief held by many, you are the problem. Anything horrendous, illegal or plainly evil is justified on the basis that it's a necessity for national security.

Sign No. 3: If by chance there are problems, the usual solution is a motivational pep rally.

From the Associated Press:

First, the independent Ross Perot contingent. Then, the liberal ''netroots'' mobilization. Now, the conservative ''tea party'' coalition.

No doubt this is democracy at work, a quintessential part of America.

Will the latest political phenomenon become a society-changing movement influencing elections and beyond?

''We are people who understand something wrong is going on in this country, and we want to change it,'' says Dan Garner, a married 40-year-old sales representative from nearby Carthage who is new to politics. Like so many others, he's had enough. ''The core thing is a loss of individual liberty.''


Here.

Attitude is everything. In dysfunctional America, there's always a mob on the loose -- a self-abusive confused mob more interested in tearing things down, setting fire to the place and obeying the interests of wealthier and more powerful people outside the mob aimed at destroying the lives of the people who comprise the mob.

To appear sane you must pretend that the mob is a symbol of democracy, not just a nuts crowd. Dysfunctional America is full of crazy mobs but if you have a good attitude, you won't mention it. Or you'll glorify them as part of the way the country solves its problems.

From AP:

''America is ready for another revolution, and you are a part of this,'' Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, told convention attendees Saturday.

Sign No. 4: Double messages are delivered with a straight face. Too many to list.

America is always ending war and bringing freedom by starting up more war or escalating whatever wars it is in.

From Krugman:

Today, by contrast, the Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals. They inveigh against the deficit — and last month their senators voted in lockstep against any increase in the federal debt limit, a move that would have precipitated another government shutdown if Democrats hadn’t had 60 votes. But they also denounce anything that might actually reduce the deficit, including, ironically, any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely.

Sign No. 5: History is regularly edited to make executive decisions more correct.

Huge bankster salaries and bonuses for people who wrecked the economy require justification.

"Bonuses must be paid to retain top talent."

Sign No. 6: Directives are threatening.

"Your seatbelt fine is $720."

"The fine for that red-light infraction is $500."

"[With] the national G.O.P. having abdicated any responsibility for making things work, it’s only natural that individual senators should feel free to take the nation hostage until they get their pet projects funded."

Sign No. 7: Democracy means giving someone the power to do something and then watching them not do it.

Example: Obvious when you think of it, really.

Sign No. 8: Resources are tightly controlled.

The big pieces of the national swag pie go to the military/national security and Wall Street while little or nothing is diverted for the social good or advancement of the country.

Whatever is proposed with regards to advancement and social good, the first and loudest response is that it will saddle the country with ruinous debt.

Sign No. 9: You are expected to feel lucky to live here because America is always the greatest country in the world. And if you don't like it you should get out, preferably to some other country regularly mocked even though that country has a higher standard of living.



Sign No. 10: Rules and success are enforced based on who you are.

In a dysfunctional country, there are clearly insiders and outsiders and everyone knows who belongs in each group. If you're wealthy, powerful and/or a celebrity, you're always an insider and it is everyone else's job to be a lickspittle to you and to reward you who have so much with even more. Most of the outsiders know this and like it. Only a few don't and they're all losers with bad attitudes. Class war is forbidden unless you want to wage it on others in your own class or those in one beneath yours.




At the new improved old DD blog.