Sunday, March 22, 2015

A sick land. Plus: How the Matt DeHart mystery links to a UFO story

I had intended to write something fun today, but there's no fun to be had. Just look at what's happening...

California drought. My old home state is -- was? -- the breadbasket of America. A staggeringly large proportion of this country's veggies and fruits come from farmlands located in California's astounding central valley. But now, man-made climate change -- that great unmentionable -- has destroyed the snowpack and plunged the state into megadrought.

Near as I can see, desalination is the one great solution. A new desalination technology, driven by solar power, looks very promising. But implementing that technology would require massive government action, and our libertarian overlords will not countenance that approach. Libertarians would rather destroy America than tweak their ideology

(If you want a grim laugh, check out the libertarian-approved "solution," which is truly horrifying. So is nearly everything else on the site at the other end of that link.)

Ted Cruz has formally entered the Republican race. His one great disadvantage, craziness, may hinder him in the general election, although it may prove helpful in the primaries. Tellingly, Cruz chose to announce his candidacy at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA -- a.k.a. Nutsville, USA.

Cruz opposed John Kerry's nomination as Secretary of State on the grounds that Kerry seeks to undermine our sovereignty, apparently because the guy is suffused with hatred of Amurrka. Although I've been very disappointed by the performance of our current SOS, it should be noted that Kerry served with distinction in Vietnam, while Cruz refused to volunteer for military service during the first Gulf War.

Cruz also claimed that he had nothing to do with the government shutdown which he, in large measure, caused.

Speaking of craziness: This piece by Michael Goodwin in the NY Post is concentrated madness. No, it's worse than that: It's the concentrate from which they make concentrate.
First he [Obama] comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.

He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our ­allies, appeases tyrants, coddles ­adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.

Now he’s coming for Israel.
Virtually every charge here is pure hallucination. Okay, so the "spies on journalists" bit may be valid -- but then again, Goodwin is probably referring to the Sharyl Attkisson story, which is questionable.

About that military budget: Somehow, despite sequestration, it has grown outlandishly massive. "First, Obama comes for the banks": This claim is fair only if you use the verb "to come" in its sexual sense. In the same sense, one can say that he has been coming for Israel. Despite the ravings of many right-wing mythologists, no conservative Obama critic has had to face an IRS audit. Your religious freedoms remain as unfettered as ever. As for that bit about nationalizing the internet: Say what? What the hell is this guy talking about?

I could go on, but there is little point in offering a logical refutation of a lunatic's howls and snarls.

There are, God knows, plenty of legitimate grounds for criticizing our president. This humble blog has lambasted Obama's policies on numerous occasions, and will continue to do so. But one hesitates to attack this president, or his party, when doing so might give political aid to freakazoids like Goodwin.

The Democrats insist on a course that is foolish and dangerous -- while the Republicans, chasing a series of schizy hallucinations, insist on a course that is ultra-foolish and ultra-dangerous. You, the voter, are free to choose between arsenic and cyanide. That's democracy.

The Matt DeHart mystery. I trust that you all did your homework reading from yesterday. Marcy Wheeler has more.

It's clear to me that, although DeHart obviously has psychological issues, the pedophilia accusation is nonsense. Did DeHart offer his services to the Russians as a spy? I doubt it. Then again, if the guy is a manic-depressive, he may have cooked up some inane scheme along those lines during his "up" phase. (If so, he should have watched Burn After Reading.)

The most important aspect of this case concerns the files that DeHart allegedly obtained from someone who had gone floating through Uncle's computers.

DeHart says that he found a document in which the FBI blames the CIA for the anthrax letters. Supposedly, the anthrax letters were a covert op designed to drive the country into the kind of frenzy that made the Iraq invasion possible.

You may or may not be inclined to believe that such a scenario is possible. Even if we grant (hypothetically) that the anthrax scare was a covert op, I doubt that the perps were CIA, operating with the full knowledge of the Director. The Agency was not on board with Dubya's war plans.

But the great question I want to ask here is not "Was the anthrax thing a covert op?" What I'm asking is this: How likely is it that this shocking scenario would be laid out in one all-too-convenient document?

Let's go to Marcy:
According to Buzzfeed, the anthrax investigation came in one unencrypted folder with the ag document and a document on drone targeting the source of which he thinks he knows (it would like have been a former colleague from the ANG).

How would it ever be possible that the same person would have access to all three of those things? While it’s possible the ag admission ended up in the government, even a DOJ investigation into such an admission would be in a different place than the FBI anthrax investigation, and both should be inaccessible to the ANG people working on SIPRNet.

That is, this feels like the Laptop of Death, which included all the documents you’d want to argue that Iran had an active and advanced nuclear weapons program, but which almost certainly would never all end up on the same laptop at the same time.

And, given DeHart’s belief reported elsewhere this was destined for WikiLeaks, I can’t help but remember the Defense Intelligence Agency report which noted that WikiLeaks might be susceptible to disinformation (not to mention the HB Gary plot to discredit WikiLeaks, but that came later).
In other words, the whole thing was bullshit. Perhaps it was bullshit based on a certain degree of underlying reality: All of the best bullshit has some real stuff in it. Nevertheless: Bullshit.

I'll add this.

As I was getting up to speed on the DeHart mystery, I immediately flashed on a similar conundrum involving another famous hacker. Do you recall the strange case of Gary McKinnon?

(If you can't place the name, you may want to listen to this entertaining podcast from the Thinking Sideways crew.)

McKinnon was an unemployed Scotsman who, in 2001, hacked into computers used by NASA and other governmental agencies. While traipsing through that digital playground, he found documents which allegedly revealed a secret space program based on UFO technology. According to those documents, the United States possesses a fleet of interstellar spaceships manned by human officers.

That's right: Star Trek is real. Allegedly.

(For what it is worth, the "Star Trek is real" meme has been circulating on the fringe since at least the late 1980s. In 1989, I heard a loon solemnly spout this nonsense during a lecture in a Santa Monica library. Squelching a belly laugh nearly gave me a hernia.)

I suspect that what happened to DeHart is pretty much what happened to McKinnon. I suspect that, whenever the government's computers are "tickled" by an outsider, certain extremely compelling documents are placed before the eyes of the intruder. The intention is to seduce the intruder into revealing himself -- to cajole him into telling the world: "Look! Everyone look! Look at what I found!"

It's easy to find a hacker when the hacker outs himself. It's also easy to build a legal case against a hacker who outs himself.

(Although I'd rather not get into it in any detail, I've long felt that certain "spectacular" flying saucer documents that have been floating around are fakes originally created during the Cold War, for use in counterintelligence operations. Molehunters need bait, right? To paraphrase an old anti-war chant: Hey, hey, JJA -- how many dupes did you fool today?)
Comments:
California's water problems can't be solved by desalination. No matter how efficient a solar powered desalination plant is, and I wouldn't be optimistic, it won't be as efficient as just living in a place where waer freely falls from the skies. Property rights are a non-starter as a solution. After all, most of the water comes from government programmes. State Water project, California's share of the Colorado river, various projects by Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers. It's dirty pinko water.

The best way is to conserve water. Acreage limitations on irrigation, as there were under the Reclamation Act. Replacing the most water-intensive crops. Getting rid of crops that are grown with subsidised water while farmers elsewhere are paid not to grow them, like cotton. An increase in water prices for farmers would probably be a good idea, as the current heavily subsidised rates were designed to support homesteaders and not to subsidise the various big farmers, half of which seem to be oil companies, who grow California's cash crops and run it's tax and subsidy farms.

Gary Mackinnon didn't really hack into anything, he just put in the default password no-one had bothered to change. Evidence it was a honey-pot, maybe. Poor bastard. Supposedly that did millions of dollars of damage and harmed US national security. Perhaps those Starfleet documents were even forge specifically for him, he had certainly been poking around for some time before he found them so people watching a honey-pot for intruders could well have found out what he was after and given it to him.

 
Yes, maybe it was disinfo meant to bait a hacker into revealing himself....but.

Who benefits?

The anthrax bs was so obviously meant to horrify Americans into a war-mindset that the targets themselves have been overlooked for the most part. The very first victim killed by that anthrax was a photography editor at a tabloid! Not just any old tabloid, but the tabloid that published pics of Jenna Bush falling down drunk and kissing girls.

Whether it was a favor to Papa Bush or some kind of warning shot to connect the Bushes to the attacks can be left to serious conspiracy buffs to argue, but either way....there you go.






 
Here. Have some fun.

http://www.slashfilm.com/does-back-to-the-future-predict-911/

 
Ted Cruz is exactly the sort of Republican who makes Scott Walker look sane, despite the fact that Walker if the biggest, most cold-blooded sociopath of the bunch. Look deeply into his eyes and tell me what you see? Nothing.
 
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