Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Pissgate and Other Stuff

Well, the MSM/CIA/DNC/whatever batch of loons you want to mention, have definitely jumped the shark. The latest release of crap (well... piss, really) comes from a failed MI6 spy assigned to Russia who has been known to Russians counterintelligence since the mid-1990's. It reads mostly like some of the sorry attempts at fiction that people self-publish on Amazon. Uncle Vlad has taken to cracking jokes in public about the whole sorry mess. I'm sure our standing in the eyes of the world is soaring....

Anyway, read this for all the details. The whole thing sounds to me like the obsession of someone who got his ass handed to him in the past (meaning Steele, the MI6 agent, who was busted while trying to use fake rocks in a Moscow park to pass information; you cannot make this stuff up). (Or maybe you can....) His own coworkers don't seem to have a great deal of respect for him or his "work".

And Counterpunch, that lefty, liberal, probably-socialist, maybe-even-communist website, published the most definitive take-down of the whole Putin-hacked-the-election nonsense being peddled by the DNC and the CIA that I've seen. It's long and gets a little technical in places, but it is worth the effort to work through. To give away the ending:

There are too many inconsistencies and holes in the official story. In all likelihood, there were multiple intrusions into DNC servers, not all of which have been identified. The public ought to be wary of quick claims of attribution. It requires a long and involved process to arrive at a plausible identification, and in many cases the source can never be determined. As Jeffrey Carr explains, “It’s important to know that the process of attributing an attack by a cybersecurity company has nothing to do with the scientific method. Claims of attribution aren’t testable or repeatable because the hypothesis is never proven right or wrong.”

Russia-bashing is in full swing, and there does not appear to be any letup in sight. We are plunging headlong into a new Cold War, riding on a wave of propaganda-induced hysteria. The self-serving claims fueling this campaign need to be challenged every step of the way. Surrendering to evidence-free emotional appeals would only serve those who arrogantly advocate confrontation and geopolitical domination.

This from a website that links Donald Trump with a resurgent white supremacy movement. Hardly a bunch of Trumpian deplorables.


Many who read this already know that my dad ended up in the hospital for five days. It was mostly for nothing. He had severe abdominal pain, so my mom took him up to the ER where they sat around for hours while nothing was done. As usual. Finally, a CAT scan was done and a mass was found. He was also slightly dehydrated. So he was admitted, hooked up to IV's for fluids and antibiotics and assigned a team of around 20 physicians who did absolutely nothing for four days other than stick their heads into his room at all hours of the day and night to assure him they had no idea what the mass was, but it was certainly cancer. They finally did a needle biopsy on the mass and it was not cancer; it was a cyst full of infected puss. He was sent home the next day with prescriptions for antibiotics and a blood pressure med. Understand that there is nothing wrong with my father's blood pressure, but the hospital here seems obsessed with killing everyone over 80 with blood pressure medication, which they came very close to doing to my mother last winter. My parents asked me what to do, and I told them to just get the antibiotics and forget about the blood pressure med. He's fine, of course. The pain (which went away soon after they started him on fluids) was probably a kidney stone, which my dad has had numerous times before. The whole thing could have been handled on an outpatient basis without scaring the living crap out of him with all the cancer talk based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

But I'm sure Medicare will be paying a hefty chunk for five days in a private room with hourly checks. And I'm sure my parents will be hit for another big chunk once the balance billing kicks in. As we all now know, this is the purpose of the medical-industrial complex.

Speaking of medical issues, Debbie's arm is acting up again. I'll be driving her to an appointment tomorrow. She's been told that she needs to start looking into permanent disability because, while no one can figure out what the exact problem is, working most certainly is what is causing it. She will probably be eligible for Social Security before she gets through all the paperwork, but it may be worth the hassle. Or not.

Or the business she works for goes bankrupt in the Great Depression of 2017 and the problem fixes itself.

I'm still having issues with the new computer. Everything was working fine until one sunny morning, after yet-another of Microsoft's forced updates, I could no longer print anything to our network printer. Debbie's PC, which is also running the (presumably) same version of Windows 10 has no problems printing to the very same printer. I really don't want to buy another printer just for this, but I've been thinking about getting something I can print photos from. Maybe this will be the excuse to finally pull the trigger.

I did finally find a music app that I like. I'm running MusicBee which seems to do everything I need a music app to do; namely, play music. (I found out the hard way that that's not always a given for  a music app.) I also create playlists by using text in the comment field, such as "Debbie", "Kindle", "Party", "Emo" etc. iTunes and WinAmp have been able to do this since the early 2000's, but iTunes got too... err... Apple-ish? Jobs-ish? Control-freak-is? And WinAmp lost its support base and hasn't been updated in a really long time. Many of the other players out there cannot do this including Windows Media Player. MusicBee can. I still don't have a way to automatically send new stuff with the "Kindle" tag to my Kindle like WinAmp could (sometimes) do (poorly). But I haven't really looked, either. There is an Android app, but unless specifically written for the Kindle, those rarely work inside Amazon's walled garden. If nothing else, I can tell MusicBee to export the Kindle playlist to a separate folder, then xcopy changes to the Kindle via USB. Not the most elegant solution, but it's not like I buy music all that often.

On the other hand, the app was free, so it was likely written by the NSA and is sending streaming video and audio to the Big Black Box in Maryland.

We've also been looking for a new camera for my parents. The camera they had just stopped working and we've been out looking around for a replacement. But I can't find anything that is a) simple enough for a couple in their 80's to operate, b) has buttons big enough for a couple in their 80's to see and be able to press, c) doesn't weigh 800 pounds, and d) doesn't cost $1,000,000. I'm not sure what happened in the digital camera market in the last few years, but I'm not seeing anything that meets all four criteria. If it costs from $100-$200, it's small enough to fit in your nostril and can only be operated with a molecular probe under an electron microscope. Everything else retails for $12,000 (batteries, battery charger, memory cards and lenses not included) and comes with a Sherpa and a mule to haul it around. I've been scrounging around for our old Sony Cybershot, which would be perfect. (The new ones are nostril cams.) I have a feeling we sold it or gave it away at some point.

Well, I need to get something done today. It has mostly been a complete waste (other than cranking out another brilliant bit of prose, of course). But I guess I need to have a day off once in a while.

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