All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Author: Jim (Page 1 of 49)

Vaccine Spam and Bad Actors

If anyone has any doubt about the veracity of these anti-vaccine conspiracies going around, I can assure you they are pure unadulterated lies. These are not well meaning, but misinformed, people who really believe these things and just “want to help.” These are malevolent forces, bad actors actively trying to sow discord in the US. Probably other places as well, but I can tell you definitively about what I see in the US.

My day to day job is running communications and web infrastructure for a wide variety of clients – email, web, messaging. This means that I am privy to the attacks that happen, the attempts to sell pharmaceuticals, scam you out of bitcoin, steal money, phish identities – you name it, I’ve seen it for going on 25 years now.

Currently, there is a concerted effort to undermine people’s faith in government, public health, and society. I will share one example here in image form, because I do not want to give it any visibility to search engines.

excerpt of the body of a website comment form spam

The rest of the body contains various links to a google drive account with hundreds of meme-ready images to share on social media professing to the myth that the Covid-19 vaccines somehow shed live viruses to other people, something called vaccine shedding. If you want a quick history of this and to see if there is any truth at all, read the wikipedia article.

In short, there are no modern live virus vaccines in use. So virus shedding is not a thing, okay? It was only partially a thing with the oral version of the polio vaccine in the 1950s.

Why are they posting this stuff, you might ask. Why work so hard to hunt down and post contact form, email, website spam?

Why would someone anyone do this?

Let me be clear, these are not concerned citizens “trying to get the word out.” These people, organizations, state actors are paid to spread this misinformation. Based on the webserver logs, I show that between 50% and 85% of all traffic to websites that I host and maintain is coming from China, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus.

There is no content I host that would interest any individuals in those places. The only interesting bit to them is that these sites are hosted using WordPress, the single most popular content management software in the world. It’s popular and predictable, so it draws in bad actors trying to foment discord and steal money.

This the reason that captchas exist, folks, in addition to all the behind the scenes stuff – mitigation techniques that attempt to weed out automated spam posts. Sometimes, however, it’s just people being paid to post stuff.

And someone is getting paid to do this.

If you are disposed to believe these sorts of posts, please understand that these people are not your friends. They are not aligned with you politically or spiritually. They are manipulating you for nefarious ends. They are attempting to undermine your faith in the rule of law, public health, science. What they gain is a divided country, hobbled both politically and economically.

Morgan Freeman Casting for the Part of God

“So, hey Morgan, we’re looking for someone to play God in a little movie we’re doing.”

“Sounds interesting, tell me about it.”

“Well, you’re God, right? It’s funny because God is black. Unexpected.

“Okay. Hmmm. So what do I do in this movie.”

“You’re mopping floors.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s just a bit… you know, expectations an all. God’s a black man who mops floors. It’s hilarious.”

“Ok, so it turns around right? I get to do something cool and powerful?”

“Well, sorta. You’re going to turn over your powers to a white man.”

“Excuse me?”

“A white man is going to take and abuse your powers so he can learn to appreciate how hard being God is.”

“Well, I guess…”

“Bottom line, Morgan, you’re going to help a white man who feels under appreciated and oppressed. You’re going to help him achieve his potential. Isn’t that great!”

But I Thought it was Trump’s Vaccine

So here’s another thing I don’t understand. Vaccine hesitant people – I see you on Facebook. Your sharing of crazy “facts” from random websites is truly awe-inspiring.

For example, there’s a thing where some people think that vaccinated people shed DNA and it affects people around you. Another is that the mRNA mechanism of the vaccine itself can rewrite your DNA. I am not making this up.

I apparently have never ever fully grasped the depths of human stupidity… but that’s a post for another day.

The short of it for now: I thought the vaccine was Trump’s triumph. Operation Warp Speed. Remember that? Dear leader saved us all with his remarkable leadership and vision.

I remember him and you decrying the liberal media’s ingratitude for the vaccine. Trump himself lamented that he wasn’t getting credit for the vaccine. Nobody thanks me.

Pouty face.

But then suddenly, there’s a good 40% of the US that says they don’t trust it. Is it now Biden’s vaccine? What happened?

No, I really want to know. No, I actually don’t. That’s a rhetorical question.

Trumpists’ Cult of Personality

I’m only posting about this to get it off my chest. I know he’s out of office, but the rubble from his destruction is still littered about. I can’t ignore it, especially when I keep tripping on it and when these conversations still happen:

Well, YOUR guy is doing X. It could be Hunter Biden. It could be Andrew Cuomo. It could be Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio Cortéz, Schumer whatever. Whataboutism is alive and well.

You see, those that have gone all in on Trump worship, have connected their entire beings to him. They don’t seem to understand that those that disagree with them on policy and values may not have an equivalent. There’s no liberal cult figure that I can see.

So, I respond. My guy? I don’t have a guy. What are you talking about? If Hunter Biden did something illegal, investigate him and prosecute him. If his dad, the President profited, then burn him too. Investigate them all. Prosecute them all. I am not loyal to a party or a person. I’m loyal to the values of honesty and integrity.

Why is that so hard to understand?

AOC? Okay, I don’t have any particular loyalty towards her. What is it that you don’t like about her? What things do you disagree with? Well, she wants to destroy America. She’s a socialist. Really? How does she want to destroy America? Again, I don’t have any particular loyalty to her, just to values and policy. What is she doing? Invariably, they can’t say absolutely anything except for what the idiot talking heads on Fox News, OAN, Rush Limbaugh, Breitbart say. Which is to say, absolutely nothing besides false innuendo, relying on listeners/viewers laziness to verify for themselves.

Then there’s some sputtering about Clinton, Bill or Hillary, take your pick. I can’t defend Bill. He was rightfully impeached. He should have been removed.

Perjury was a technicality.

What he was really guilty of was using the office of the President to personally enrich himself. He took liberty with his office to “get chicks.” It’s a very dangerous indicator of his personal values of loyalty and fealty to a higher calling, to the responsibilities and duties of the office. Time, I think, has revealed more and more truth about his self-dealings with regard to the Clinton Foundation and his behaviors towards women and his problematic relationship with Jeffery Epstein. I mean, if you want to show pictures of Trump with Jeffrey, you’ve got to acknowledge that Clinton was right up in there too.

So burn them both. Clinton and Trump both violated the public trust, enriched themselves to the detriment of the country and should never ever be trusted ever again.

So, yeah, I don’t have a guy. Go to a Biden rally? What? Are you kidding me. Who’s got time for that. He just needs to do his damn job. I’ll do mine. He should do his.

Shortcut to Waking Up

I love how Foxnews and the like are talking about Dr. Seuss in their ongoing segment, “Libs are trying to destroy America – Endless Culture War edition.” Frankly, the recent news is a gift to radical right wing media. They can’t get enough of the outrage.

But I don’t really want to talk about that, I guess. It’s sort of the context, but I really want to talk about the great white middle class, those with whom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was so impatient.

Why is it taking so long for us? Why is realizing that society is deeply racist and has been built that way for centuries rolling along in such slow motion? Yes, the arc of the moral universe is long and it does bend toward justice. But why so long, and why is the arc so gentle?

I reflect on my own journey of understanding and the increasing granularity of my own personal discoveries of racist things. I personally wouldn’t have found Dr. Seuss racist growing up. Haha, look at the funny characters. That’s what Chinese people are. Look at the interesting African tribal guys. Oh, that’s what Africans look like. My personal journey didn’t get me very far, because it’s a feedback loop of normality.

Why is your favorite dish something your mom made?

As time has gone on, I, like a lot of other normative white folks, have awakened to the realization that black people and Asians don’t like being portrayed like that, that stereotypes are bad. They would never draw themselves like that or portray themselves like that.

I get it. Now let me continue to take myself on my personal journey toward woke-ness. Bravo. Please let me pat myself on my woke-ass back.

Bah! It’s this personal journey bullshit that’s making it take so long!

But here’s the thing – there’s a shortcut.

Psst. They have been telling us for decades, and sometimes for even hundreds of years.

All we had to do was listen.

When people tell you what you said was hurtful, believe them.

When people tell you a depiction is racist and hurtful, believe them.

When people tell you that police profile and harass them, believe them.

When people tell you their city’s water is full of lead, believe them.

When people tell you they have experienced sexual harassment/assault in public and in their workplaces, believe them.

When people tell you they hurt, believe them.

Really, it boils down to – believe people when they tell you things they experience and don’t filter their words through your own completely different experiences.

Ad Hominem and Silly Arguments

Today’s big story on foxnews.com is a real head scratcher, but it perfectly encapsulates the silly arguments that they and radical right media make to distract, score vague emotional points, and stir up discord in society.

John Kerry’s family still owns private jet as he leads climate fight, FAA records indicate,” they breathless report while clutching their pearls.

Okay, so let’s break this down folks. First, this is a classic ad hominem, attempting to discredit the messenger rather than the message. Most of what Fox News does is attack the person, rather than policy position or relevant actions. What’s more, most of the time the person they are attacking is made of straw, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

What are you saying, Fox News? Kerry is a hypocrite? Okay, let’s go down that path. He’s a hypocrite. I agree with you. What now? Are you insinuating that he will not enact or support policy that will promote sustainable energy investment?

Are you saying he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

“Look,” you say, “he says he’s all about conservation, but he flies around in a private jet.” And then you leave that hanging in the air as if that’s it. Case closed, wrap it up boys, we’re done here. Dem discredited!

If we dig a little deeper, we have to ask ourselves if what you’re really saying is that John Kerry is a duplicitous energy wasting bastard who does not support what we, Fox News, support, namely that global warming is an existential threat.

John Kerry is not a serious proponent for real policy change with respect to renewable energy, because he flies around in a private jet.

I do not think your argument means what you think it means, Fox.

It’s Not Just Virtue Signaling

There is an interesting debate currently going on in the world of information technology. Along with de-gendered pronouns and inclusive language, we too have our own internal debates. Currently on the table are the terms master/slave, used to designate among other things the centralized control of communications, a hub configuration. The master controls who may speak in this arrangement.

Soon, the terms blacklist and whitelist came to the chopping block. Isn’t ban list better? Permit list?

Anyway, it’s a conversation that people are having, and the voices of the status quo promptly accused them of being social justice warriors, virtue signaling, creating controversy where there was none.

They’re just words, you’re ruining our history. It’s always been this way. It’s fine. You’re just a liberal snowflake!

It’s funny how, like a fractal, the larger conversations happening in society repeat themselves in other smaller sub-communities, but maybe that’s a topic for another day.

First, words are important.

The words we use have an impact on the way we think and the way we think has an impact on the words we use. Language is recursive in society. If we make the effort to change it, it will in turn shape how we interact with the world. Remember fireman, policeman, and mailman? We changed those, because we wanted a social construct that didn’t default to “man.” There was no reason to gender type those professions. When we realized how archaic it was, that it didn’t reflect our values, we modified those terms and now they sound weird. Congressperson, congressional representative, not congressman. Chairman… chairperson, or just chair.

The master/slave terminology outside of just the obvious ugliness of the relationship, can have a pervasive effect on how we perceive interaction of things. If one thing is always subservient to another, it shapes us. We expect to see this subservience in all things. Bosses have to be on top. Employees at the bottom. There’s got to be this rigid hierarchy in all things, ’cause that’s just the way things are. We see it, we replicate it, we again say that’s how it should be.

What if bosses were just team members or coordinators? They are resource wranglers, interference runners, rather than mandate bringers. The team structure is flat now, all members have a role, and we start to get away from “I’m more important than you are” because I’m the boss. We now see the “boss” as just another resource in the chain. Maybe their task requires more training and education, so they get paid more, but they are not certainly “above” anyone.

Maybe the master/slave language masks other truths when we consider it as part of a system. If we consider one thing as always subservient to the other, perhaps it causes us to not consider that perhaps their communication can flow in two directions sometimes the “slave” taking control. Master/slave just doesn’t cut it anymore and what’s worse it can obscure real truths.

Anyway, it’s a lot, I know, but this stuff isn’t just “libs” virtue signaling. The words we use can have a dramatic effect on how we interact with the world, what structures “make sense,” and how we can make better systems not hindered by outdated ways of thinking.

Glass Cliff in the White House

It’s interesting to see misogyny alive and well in Republican circles. Now, I’m not going to defend her aims, but I can sympathize and recognize when someone has been pushed off a glass cliff. For those unfamiliar with the term, a glass cliff is the cliff that weak men push women off when they need to accomplish something difficult and don’t know how to do it or if it will even work.

Have to do a bunch of layoffs but don’t want to look bad doing it? Bring in a woman, have her fire everybody, and when morale tanks, change her out for someone, “more aligned with our workplace culture.” Bonus points if you can smear her with some salacious detail on the way out. Examples include, Carly Fiorina or Ellen Pao. Anyway, check out this article from vox that goes into greater detail.

“Hey, hire a woman to do it. If she fails, we can fire her and say we tried to be inclusive.”

Chuckle chuckle chuckle. Backslaps all around.

And so we arrive at the 2020 election, and the allegations of fraud. Read this for backstory. Long story short – Sidney Powell has been disavowed, fired, terminated, and downsized with prejudice. None of the machinations of the Trump administration worked, so the guilty must be punished. Never you mind about the buck stopping anywhere but Trump.

Their legal team pawed at every legal door possible and came up empty handed. When things went sideways (because of lack of evidence), they fabricated it and lied about it in the press.

Sidney was there leading the charge, taking one for her President, with the tacit approval of Trump and Giuliani.

Now that things have pretty much completely failed, they’ve decided she’d make an excellent scapegoat.

“Mr. President, it was all her fault. We failed because she was unlikeable, incompetent, and opportunistic. She didn’t have your best interests at heart.”

And so, our little cadre of incompetent, unlikeable, opportunistic men nudged Sidney out of the circle, off the glass cliff, to tumble down and down.

Swing State Government Breakdowns

Just want to leave this here for my own education:

Pennsylvania’s political breakdown goes like this. Governor is a Democrat. State assembly is Republican. Secretary of State is an unelected position appointed by governor (so Democrat).

Arizona’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is an elected position and is a Democrat.

Georgia’s governor is a Republican. Their state assembly is Republican. Their Secretary of State is a Republican.

I would like to know how the all powerful Democrats mustered the ability to affect the outcomes of these elections fraudulently, when every single state legislature is controlled firmly by Republicans and 2/3 of the executives are Republican.

Well, obviously it’s a rhetorical question, because it’s impossible, and if you still cling to the idea that the election was fraudulent, congratulations, you’ve successfully boarded the train to crazytown.

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