Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.

31.3.18

We Don't Get Fooled Again


Everyone is jumping on the Bash SCL/Cambridge Analytica bandwagon, and especially those whose agenda is to paint the conservative/nationalist movement as being somehow evil and nefarious.
The video linked above is slick and subtle. It first casts the process of demographic analysis as a black art, with ominous background music and an astounded tone. It then goes on to talk only about the Trump and Brexit campaigns, as if these were the only organizations that used such tools.
Now, I'm not saying that SCL/CA and the techniques of mass market manipulation (MMM) aren't evil and nefarious, but they are by no means limited to Trump and Brexit. In fact, they are just the latest iteration of the study and science of Marketing/PR pioneered by Edward Bernays at the beginning of the 20th century. In other words, SCL/CA may have invented better tools for MMM, but the basic formulae and tenets they use are a century old, and more if you include Sigmund Freud (Bernay's uncle).
The idea of polling people voluntarily, using seemingly innocuous questions, and then applying matrices to cross-reference the responses to build a psychological profile have been the mainstay of MMM for decades. These types of analyses have shown up in women's magazines and online since at least the 1950s.
People are offered the perceived benefit of getting to know themselves better, and thus freely hand over all kinds of data about themselves to complete strangers, who then plug the answers into mathematical formulae and derive a complex profile of the individual. The film Blade Runner opens with a scene of an interviewer applying a psychological profile to one of the characters, and that film was released in 1982. The infamous LBJ Daisy ad, released in 1964, used the same techniques and led to the candidate being swept into office.
Every single public figure, organization, political party, corporation, and movement has used these exact same techniques to manipulate mass audiences since before anyone reading this was born. In fact, advertising was created to advance future sales into the present by manipulating the viewer by pursuading him/her that a product is vital and/or bestows status on the owner. Listen to Bill Moyers interviewing Edward Bernays several decades ago, and see if you don't hear the exact same thing that the "documentary" at the top of this article says, and from the mouth of the man who invented it.
What is import to keep in mind as we hear SCL/CA lambasted over the next few weeks is that it is an effort to taint Donald Trump. It is a sophisticated attempt to target an issue that crosses party and political divides. This is not to say that Trump or Brexit are good or bad, but they did garner the majority of votes. In other words, Bernays' techniques were used to win those elections, and are now being used to taint them. It is amazing to watch this if you are aware of what is being done to the mass audience.
In other words, digital privacy is an issue that crosses political affiliations. SCL/CA, and by extension Facebook, is a convenient whipping boy around which the political left is building a narrative that appeals to both sides of the spectrum. Once a sufficient mass indignation and panic has been achieved, the political left will offer themselves as the solution to this problem, even though they are as much to blame as anyone else.
The problem here is not SCL/CA, it is the entire MMM industry itself. Consumers are so woefully ignorant of how these things function that they fall prey to them repeatedly and are never even aware of it. This is not a left/right, globalist/nationist, nor racist/diversity issue. It is one that pervades every single aspect of modern life. We are ALL targets from ALL directions using the same time-tested tools and techniques that have worked so well for the past 100 years. Cambridge Analytica is just one single organization in a vast sea of similar companies, all offering the same "benefit" of manipulating mass markets, and each with their signature matrices and algorithms.
If universities stopped devoting so much class time to gender and racial diversity studies, and more time to the PR/MMM industry and its methods, we would all be much better off - at least less likely to fall for these manipulations.
But then, students would suddenly realize how they've been manipulated and the entire advertising and PR industry would collapse and governments would lose the ability to steer entire populations.
Can't have that, can we?

24.3.18

Absurdity A La Mode

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This article is dedicated to the useful idiots converging on WashingtonDC, Saturday, March 24, 2018, for the March For Our Lives silliness.

It appears that the so-called #AustinBomber #Texas has taken himself out as local SWAT teams closed in on him while he sat in his car. We are told that the 24-year-old white male randomly killed a handful of people for no obvious reason - as of yet. He was found using surveillance video and Google search data. [STORY LINK]

The subtle message is that having surveillance cameras bristling across our daily lives and online tracking of everything we do is a good thing, since it helped catch this nutjob. Hard to argue against that, except that violating the rights and privacy of billions of people worldwide hardly seems a fair trade for the ability to catch one lunatic. But that's a different rant.

What I really want to draw your attention to is the complete and utter silence from the halls of power and the nattering nabobs of the corporate Geezer Media.

No slavering calls for "common sense bomb-control".
No rush to draft bans on "assault bombs".
No impassioned calls for "bomb-free zones".
No grand-standing political ninnies hollering to ban "high-capacity bomb parts".
No emotional pleas for "bomb registration".
No whining over "access to bombs".
No hand-wringing over "bomb shows".
No wild-eyed demands to end "private sale of bombs".
No "town hall meetings" with scripted questions.
No student demonstrations against "bomb violence".
No wailing and gnashing of teeth over "our bomb culture".

Not a word. Nothing. Not even the standard focus on the means of killing rather than the killer. The media is quiet. The politicians are quiet. The SJWs are silent. Progressives are silent. Hell, even Hillary Clinton has said nothing about this matter, and she can usually be found at the center of any convenient tragedy.

This may seem like argumentum ad absurdum, but it's not. Rather this incident shines a very bright spotlight on the hypocrisy and opportunism routinely practiced by Geezer Media and the Plutocrats (which would be a fantastic name for a band, by the way).

The only mass killings ever hammered on in the public sphere are with guns. Guns are also the only objects vilified for these killings. No one ever blames knives, cars, bombs, garrotes, ice picks, or other weapons for the killings, only guns have the apparent ability to kill by themselves.

In the current scandal over the poisoning of a spy in the UK, no one is blaming the poison. All the focus is on blaming Russia, even Vladimir Putin himself. Everyone knows poison doesn't kill unless someone administers it to the victim.

So why are guns always blamed for killings? Why do the Gatekeepers always focus on these particular tools, rather than the perpetrators? Why so much animosity towards guns, when nearly every object can be weaponized?

The answer is quite simple: guns equalize the power equation between government and the masses. Bombs have to be delivered. Knives are for close combat. Bows and arrows have a fair range, but they are bulky and require a great amount of skill. Guns, however, can be used at great distances, and even cheap ones have as much potential as the outrageously expensive military versions.

It's very hard to control large groups of people who have the power to shoot back.

Larry McDonald famously noted that there were four boxes of liberty: the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and the ammo box, to be used in that order. This insightful phase posits that guns underpin the defense of individual liberty.

Indeed, it is often said that the First Amendment to the US Constitution (rights of speech, religion, press, assembly) are backed up by the Second Amendment (right to keep and bear arms).

It would seem that the constant harping on guns by the Controllerati backs up the assertion that totalitarian governments fear armed masses more than anything else. That no other weapon used in mass killings receives even a fraction of the attention given to guns would also seem to support this conclusion.

Whatever the motivations behind the shrieking outcries over guns, it is quite clear that bombs are not on the same list.

The young man accused of the Austin bombings clearly had access to the materials, the knowledge and the opportunity to build and deliver deadly devices. As far as we've been told, the victims were randomly selected. He had the ability to take his devices to other cities for delivery, and even died in his car, reportedly from self-inflicted detonation.

The point is that for those motivated to kill, there is always a way and it is impossible to regulate or limit all of them. Banning or controlling guns will achieve nothing. No one will ever be safe from individuals determined to cause havoc. It is a fact of life embedded in civilization itself.

When it comes to murder, there are a thousand motives and even more means. The maniacal and hysterical focus on just one tool reveals an agenda, which is further reinforced by the silence surrounding other tools. It's high time we publicly acknowledge that the problem is people, not tools, and more importantly that the concept of "safety" is a dangerous illusion used to manipulate public opinion.

22.3.18

The Dream Merchant

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There once was a man with incredible insight into fools. Douglas Adams noted in his book, "Mostly Harmless," that "[a] common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools."

Someone else, whose name is quite difficult to find said, "Who is the greater fool? The fool or the fool who follows him?"

I have stated on several occasions that Albert Einstein was a complete idiot, but by the common wisdom, we must admit that Stephen Hawking was an even greater idiot for blindly following Einstein. The incredible hero worship surrounding Hawking's death is, or would be amusing if it weren't so foolish.

Imagine, if you will, that once upon a time, there was nothing. No, not empty space, just...um, Nothing. In the center of Nothing was an infinitely tiny, infinitely hot, inifinitely dense balloon that just all the sudden blew itself up. Keep in mind that despite having all these "infinite" PHYSICAL characteristics, it was as much Nothing as the Nothing it didn't inhabit, and like all balloons I've ever seen, it blew itself up with Nothing to become Something (i.e. - the Universe).

This balloon blew itself up between 13 and 14 billion years ago, and we have spent an astronomical amount of money trying to see the light from this event, even though no one seems to know how we got in front of the light so we could be in position to see it. And since we don't seem to be able to see it, then there must have been a celestial Dark Ages where no light existed, even though it existed when the balloon blew itself up, and it existed after the Dark Ages.

Now, this Balloon is floating somewhere in the middle of Nothing, and there are possibly many other balloons around it, though the only proof of that is some numerical wizardry performed by Einstein and Hawking. There are three possibilities for this Balloon: k=1; k=0, and k=-1. In human speak, this translates to a balloon that will expand forever, one that remain exactly as it is forever, and one that is/will contract back to Nothing and presumably blow itself back up again. Inside this balloon, there are things we can't explain without resorting to electricity and magnetism, so the scientidiots invented Dark Matter and Dark Energy: Dark Matter because galaxies don't spin the way Hawking's numbers do, and Dark Energy because scientidiots think the balloon is expanding faster the further away it gets from Earth.

Never mind that both of these things have been completely debunked by their own tools in the past three years.

Now, since the Universe doesn't use electricity and magnetism, unlike every piece of technology humankind has devised, we apparently need Black Holes. Now, you may not know this, but there are four kinds of Black Holes, two of which are named after Stephen Hawking, not because he found them, but because he manipulated magical symbols, glyphs and ciphers in a way no one else had thought to do.

These Black Holes are "Settled Science," even though there is no such thing, and despite the fact that the "evidence" we have for them is the radiation they give off, even though their gravity is infinite and they absorb everything around them, including all radiation of every kind. Also, ignore the fact that Black Hole calculations require assuming only ONE MASS in the entire Universe. I don't know about you, but I do know I exist and I am standing on a rock, so that is at least two masses I am fairly sure about.

These scientidiots didn't like the fact that you can't divide something by nothing, so they called it infinity, which is not a number. No problem, since the square-root of -1 is "i", right? If you get the impression that Cosmology is inventing the rules of the game as you go along to ensure that you win, you're getting the right idea.

Yes, this Hawking feller was a genius, I tell ya. He could explain gravity using gravity. He could conjure infinity out of nothing. He could create Black Holes where none existed.

Don't get me wrong. Hawking managed to survive 50 years longer than other scientidiots ever though he would with his disease, and he managed to befuddle so many people with his wizarding skills that he finagled a fairly comfortable lifestyle for himself and breathless sainthood upon his death. I can respect a good scam, while condemning the desire and ability to scam so many gullible people.

Hawking managed to turn Dark Ages, Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Black Holes into money, and that's no small feat. He was able to take circular arguments and make them look like they led somewhere. He was able to conjure Universes out of Nothing and make it seem plausible. Plausible, that is, until you start picking at the scabs and looking at the festering assumptions underneath.

Yes, Stephen Hawking was a genius, all right, but not in the way most people think of him. He was a Master Scientidiot, and we can concede a certain amount of congratulations for his skill at bamboozling. As someone put it to me years ago, there are bullshitters and bullshit artists. Hawking was most certainly in the latter category.

And he did it by overcoming a fairly significant handicap, but one has to wonder how much leeway he was given for that one fact.

Mathematical wizardry has its place in telling us what is possible, but at some point you have to look up from the ciphering and see what is probable. I will grant that looking up was not an easy task for Hawking, but at some point in his 50-year career as a scientidiot, one imagines that he should have tried.

It is not enough to say you follow a greater fool. Reality, no matter how much we try, is an immutable fact that cannot be ciphered away, nor can facts be created by books full of dancing symbols.

Maps are useful tools, when they are correct, but they can also lead you off a cliff if you don't look up to check reality once in a while.

Hawking, like Einstein before him, was a map-maker who got carried away with his fanciful designs. He forgot to check the lay of the land once in a while, and for that he can be faulted without diminishing the artistry of his skills. After all, Picasso never called himself a portrait artist, and to their credit, neither did the glitterati.

Let's give Hawking credit for what he achieved, but let's be a little less breathless and gullible about what his achievements actually were.

21.3.18

A Bit Of Logic

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In honor of the recent switch to Sharia Law in the UK, and for all the wonderful theocracies out there that love to kill people for possession of illegal drugs, I offer the following bit of logic:

God exists.
God is good.
God created the Universe.
The Universe exists and is good because God created it.
All things that exist are part of the Universe.
All things that are part of the Universe must be good because God created them.
Plants are things.
Plants are part of the Universe.
Plants are good because they are part of the Universe that God created.
Cannabis is a plant, therefore cannabis is a part of the Universe and it is good because God created it.
To say that God is bad is blasphemy.
To say that any part of creation is bad is blasphemy, because God created it and God is good.
Therefore, to say that cannabis is bad is to commit blasphemy.

The best part about this argument is that the only way to refute it is to deny that God exists, which is blasphemy. Thus, one sticks the theocrats in a logical box in which they must either admit they are blasphemous or admit the law is blasphemous. Either way, blasphemy has been spoken and someone must be punished for it.