FCC Follies and Monkey Browsing

There is much wailing on the intertubes about proposed changes to FCC Internet privacy rules. That horrible orange Russian stooge is desecrating the Lightbringer’s enlightened decrees and the usual suspects are having boringly predictable conniption fits. Apparently, our Internet privacy is now under attack and horrible things will ensue. You poor dumb fucks. You have no Internet privacy; you never did! I’m amused by Obama worshippers wetting their pants over Internet privacy; didn’t that entire Snowden thing happen while The One was pushing back the seas? Isn’t it a tad hypocritical to whine about the FCC, a very little fish, when great whites, the NSA, CIA, et cetera, are feasting on fools?

Now pay attention, I am only going to explain this once. If you are concerned about Internet privacy you have to look out for yourself. The FCC is not going to help you. Congress will not rush to your aid. The President, orange or black, will not defend your interests. Government, as it is currently constipated, only serves the donor class. Unless you are injecting large bribes into “the political system” you do not have effective representation. I realize it sucks to be a peon but all is not lost. You don’t have any Internet privacy but you are not powerless.

The proposed change in FCC rules is predicated on the assumption that your browsing history is valuable? It seems there are profit driven corporations out there that care about how many cat videos you watch and whether you swipe left or right. They presume that with enough data mining of your clicks, tweets, and pokes they can craft cruise missile adds that will fly under your bullshit radar and score direct hits on your “buy our shit buttons.” This entire shaky premise can be trivially undermined by simple cheap peon countermeasures.

There are two basic approaches: VPN and Dirty Data.

If you want to stop Verizon, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast or some other evil mega-corp ISP from recording your browsing history start using a VPN service. There are many VPN providers available now and this FCC ruling will probably encourage the formation of even more. See, the FCC is making VPN great again!

VPN prevents the man-the-middle from being able to view your browsing history but unfortunately, all this does is transfer your browsing history from a mega-corp ISP to a mega-corp VPN. If your VPN is in the good old fuck-You-S-A it could still sell your porn rights to the highest bidder. If you go with a VPN provider choose one that’s based outside the US.

I’m a fan of VPN but if many peons start bypassing their mega-corp ISPs with VPN our ever-helpful government will probably amend the abominable DMCA act and declare the personal use of VPN an act of domestic terrorism! I know this sounds crazy but these days it’s a criminal act in the United States for farmers to fix their own damn tractors if the repairs bypass or replace embedded device software. Yes, intellectual property rights are that screwed up!

VPN is a viable countermeasure for now but Dirty Data is a countermeasure for the ages. Dirty Data works by sabotaging data. The idea is simple, cheap and extremely effective. Before data miners can extract digital gold they have to purge the garbage in their databases. For most corporations cleaning data is an ongoing struggle. It’s always time-consuming, expensive, and it always threatens the ROI of analytic projects. If there’s too much shit in the ice cream the mixture tastes more like shit than ice cream. So how do you mix browsing history shit into mega-corp ISP ice cream?

If you have lots of free time and you really, really, hate your ISP, you can strike back with monkey browsing. Monkey browsing is an updated version of that famous monkey on the typewriter. To monkey browse, visit random websites and randomly click crap on each site. With judicious keystroke timing, it will be a royal pain for your ISP to extract your real browsing history from your monkey browsing.

Of course, most of us can’t devote a few hours a day to monkey browsing but fear not; the monkey-browser-bots are coming! It wouldn’t be all that hard to automate monkey browsing. Many techniques would work. Trust me, in short order, an army of monkey-browser-bots will be delicately stirring shit into mega-corp ISP ice cream. When the signal to noise ratio exceeds mega-corp ISP ROI thresholds they’ll stop trying to filter shit out of ice cream and move to the next corporate delusion. Peon poop is powerful people!

Only cartoons and comedians are allowed, to tell the truth in our grievance seeking culture. It’s not your grandmother’s Internet anymore. Surveillance is a fact of life, and as sad as this sorry fact is cheer up! Half the idiots monitoring you are barely capable of locating their own buttholes with both hands and a flashlight. American intelligence agencies have been so wrong, so often, that it’s a good idea to always discount whatever they’re saying until there is overwhelming independent corroborating evidence. In the meanwhile, you can cheaply punk the “data” they are collecting. Remember, you can whine or undermine!

On Shiny Pony and Witch Berning

This week Canada’s shiny new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hanging out with Obama. You can imagine my excitement: two photogenic lightweights sharing a heartwarming bromance on the public’s dime. I am at a loss to imagine a more hurl inducing scenario. I shared my feelings with a terse CBC comment.

As a dual US-Canadian citizen I must avert my eyes when confronted with such unctuous and expensive dog and pony shows. At least, we know who the dog is and who the shiny pony is! In a few short months, the toilet of history will flush on the Obama administration. For this we can thank term limits: one the best ideas in government ehh! This will cure the American Obama problem and ruin Trudeau’s play dates for years to come as I’m pretty sure neither Hillary or Trump are compatible with whatever is putting the wave in Justin’s hair.

I have safely ignored Justin Trudeau, (Shiny Pony), for decades and no harm will come from continuing this practice. Canada is, in Douglas Adam’s immortal words, “mostly harmless.” It’s one of the things I love about the country. It balances out the smug, preening, holier than thou, moral posturing that erupts from many Canadians when presented with conundrums like Trump. Batman’s nemesis the Joker said it best, “Why so serious?” Canadians take themselves more seriously than the Danes. If you’ve ever lived in Denmark you’ll understand.

Unfortunately, the United States is not mostly harmless. It matters a little bit who is elected President. It doesn’t matter nearly as much as many Americans think and we can praise the all squiggling Flying Spaghetti Monster for that. Living under a hubris-infused narcissist like Obama would be far worse if we didn’t have the luxury of ignoring him. And this brings me to Hillary, (Hildabeast), and Trump. It’s going to be difficult to ignore either one of them, and sadly None of the Above, my preferred candidate, is not on the ballot. This is a problem.

My solution, as always, revolves around who I hate the most. Animus is my animating principle. Trump is a bombastic tool, but, at least, I don’t want to hold his head under water until it stops making nagging noises. The prospect of four years of Hildabeast barking is profoundly depressing. The bitch must be stopped so I’m resorting to extreme measures. Next week I’ll cast a primary vote for that old 1960s era western hippie-commie, Bernie Sanders. Sanders has no chance of winning the presidency in November. If by some miracle, he ends up as the Democrat nominee he will be crushed by whatever crawls out of the Republican swamp.

I almost feel sorry for Bernie. Like all 1960s era western hippie-commies, he’s a weird mixture of earnest naiveté and historical ignorance. Western hippie-commies differ from their real eastern counterparts. They’ve never held power, never run anything of importance, and have a serious marketing problem!

Anyone, even remotely cognizant of 20th-century history, will find it hard to overlook the vast pile of corpses various communist and socialist regimes piled up. We’re not really sure how many tens of millions died at the hands of Stalin, Mao, Kim Il-Sung, Pol Pot and lesser thugs but it exceeds the toll exacted by the Nazi’s. This is beyond historical dispute. You can whine, attempt to change the subject, and hurl as many epithets as you want but it won’t change this nasty fact. People’s regimes are demonstrably bad for people.

Western hippie-commies like Sanders know this so they rebrand themselves as socialists. Socialists believe that if you only do communism right none of the brutal side effects will accrue. You can have somebody else’s cake and eat it too. This is naïve. Ask anyone in Venezuela about the wonders of 21st-century socialism. While you’re at it, explain how the socialism of Bernie Sanders differs from the socialism of Hugo Chavez. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t!

A primary vote for Sanders is mostly harmless. It’s like sticking a cocklebur on Pussydent Hildabeast’s hideous hide. Still it amuses me? I must take solace somewhere. Let’s Bern the Witch!

bernthewitch

American Star Chamber creates Foreign Passport Business Opportunity

Good news citizens: the putrid rogue intellects in Washington D.C. have created a brand new shiny Star Chamber. What’s a Star Chamber you ask? It’s basically a secret kangaroo court. The US system of injustice already employs an alphabet soup of Star Chambers. Perhaps you’ve heard of FISA and its outstanding work of rubber stamping the surveillance of dangerous American citizens – oops terrorists. Well, I’m happy to report that the self-aggrandizing assholes that drool us are no longer content with monitoring our terrorist naughty bits; now they’re going for what they covet most: our money.

The new Star Chamber law plugs an egregious hole that citizens – oops terrorists – have mercilessly exploited in the past. You see, when an American – oops terrorist – determines that residing in the US and maintaining American citizenship is no longer worth it, said American could simply gather up his holdings, leave the country, and renounce his citizenship. Remember Eduardo Saverin? He was a cofounder of Facebook who did a little arithmetic and figured out that dumping his US citizenship would save him many millions of tax dollars. Eduardo did what any intelligent human being would do. He analyzed the cost-benefit ratio of his citizenship and made the correct financial decision.

Of course, the entire financial position of the US government is predicated on making sure that citizens do not get in the habit of making such cost-benefit analyzes. In the past, the old tropes of patriotism, honor, giving back, national pride, and so forth kept many of us from firing up our computers but that’s the past. This is the age of hope and change.  And many little Eduardo’s hope to get out of here with some of their change!

The years of hope and change have led to an ever-increasing number of Americans fleeing the country. It’s only a trickle now but wait until Pussydent Hildabeast takes over. The trickle will turn into a flood and that’s a problem because without taxpayers how will Pussydent Hildabeast pay off her cronies, reward her allies, and punish her enemies? It takes a lot of money to bribe – oops run – government.

Fortunately, the new Star Chamber fixes the exile problem. Under the new regime, if the government thinks you owe them back taxes1 they can refuse to issue you a passport. You’re a flight risk you ungrateful terrorist – oops citizen – scum.  It gets better! If the government thinks you’re aiding foreign terrorists they can also refuse to issue you a passport. Of course, what constitutes “aiding foreign terrorists” is completely unspecified. Better not send any attaboy ISIS tweets, they might be construed as “aiding foreign terrorists.”  And, because we are so hope and changey these days if you dare ask why the government thinks you are aiding terrorists this shiny new law allows them to withhold evidence because: terrorists!  Due process is so white privilege! With such an idiotic and oppressive law in place, it’s just a matter of time before the US harbors thousands of internal tax and terrorist aiding exiles. They’ll be joining a larger cohort of hundreds of thousands of former American drug offense prisoners that are also, oddly enough, frequently denied US passports.

This is all good news! What the morons in Washington have created is a gigantic business opportunity for any country that will issue Americans passports for cash.  If you don’t already have another passport contrive to get one as soon as possible!  You really don’t want to be imprisoned here if you run afoul of our increasing fascist authorities.


  1. Of course the IRS never incorrectly assesses a citizen’s – oops terrorist’s – taxes.

Social Security Numbers are Broken beyond Repair

Imagine that you are buying a new set of wheels with cash. Being a cash transaction there is no need to negotiate loans or check credit; you have the money in your wallet. Usually, vendors are delighted when handed a thick wad of bills but we are living in unusual, no depraved, times. Before the dealer takes your wad you will probably be asked for your Social Security Number. WTF you think! It’s a cash transaction; why must government stick its inept grasping tentacles in your business?

Of course if you are financing a set of wheels, applying for a mortgage, negotiating a rental, submitting a job application, or buying a fricking big screen TV, you will be asked, over and over again, for your Social Security Number. Why are so many tiresome busybodies obsessing over nine measly, easily forged, digits? Well, cowboys and girls, the Social Security Number has morphed into a general-purpose personal tracking identifier. Busybodies covet this number because once they have it they can:

  1. Check your credit history.
  2. See if you have ever been in prison.
  3. Determine if you owe money.
  4. Track your movements from one state or city to another.

And god knows what else!

When Social Security was setup in the 1930s paranoid right wingers darkly warned that Social Security Numbers (SSNs) would be used to track people and ultimately infringe their freedoms. Silly ancient right-wingers: who really cares that they were completely right about SSNs? Only criminals, and evil people with things to hide, care about the widespread abuse of Social Security Numbers. If you believe this moronic twaddle please leave your Social Security Number in a comment on this blog. You can trust me! I would never abuse your number.

Now if you’re a big government guy or gal you will loudly assert that it’s perfectly acceptable for the government to maintain some identifier that links you to your Social Security account. On this I agree, some identifier is required, but Social Security Numbers are probably the worst possible way to do this. The ideal Social Security “Number” would:

  1. Unambiguously link you to your Social Security Account.
  2. Be impossible to counterfeit or fake.
  3. Be useless for any other purpose.

The idiotic nine digit scheme used for Social Security Numbers completely fails all three of these tests.

Let’s start with unambiguous linking. News flash: your Social Security Number does not uniquely identify you. There are many reasons for SSN duplicates with identity theft being the leading cause. Is it fair to blame SSN numbers for criminal abuse? Yes, you dumb fucks! Identity systems must operate on the bedrock principle that people are liars, cheats, and disgusting defecating naked apes. Always assume the worst of your fellow apes; you will still be disappointed. Good identifier schemes make it impossible to generate duplicates regardless of how thoroughly evil or incompetent people are. Social Security Numbers naively assume we are good people. This is asking for it.

How hard is it to counterfeit or fake Social Security Numbers? It’s so damn easy you can go to this website and push a button. While it’s unlikely that nine random digits will form a valid SSN it’s clearly not rocket science to concoct plausible SSNs. Good identifier keys are unavoidably unique. There are many high-quality unique key algorithms. SSNs are crappy keys; any database professional that advocated their use would be fired on the spot.

As for being useless for other purposes: here the failure is so complete, so total, and so absolute, that it’s hard to attribute it to mere government stupidity. I don’t blame the paranoid for thinking it was a clumsy backdoor scheme to label citizens for other purposes. Heh, even the official government Social Security Page brags that your SSN has “come to be used as a nearly universal identifier.” Anyone that contests this is an idiot. Every two-bit database out there has an SSN column in it. Many SSNs are still completely unencrypted; they’re begging software professionals like me to get into the identity theft business. Keep that in mind the next time some outfit asks for your SSN.

When you make a VISA, MasterCard or Apple Pay purchase with a “chipped card” a onetime transaction code is generated and mixed with your credit card number.1 This allows the central authority, VISA and MasterCard in this case, to verify your credit without creating a permanent number that is forever tied to your name. This scheme is vastly more secure than SSNs but falls short of high-quality cryptographic key schemes used in systems like Bitcoin. The QR code on this blog is a Bitcoin address with money in it. Try and steal my Bitcoin bitches! The point is there are sound ways of creating account links that do not invite abuse and tracking. So why the hell are we are still tolerating static, insecure, come and get it identity thieves, broken beyond repair, Social Security Numbers?


  1. One of the consequences of chipping credit cards is that it is no longer necessary to display the number on the card. You only need the number to interact with non-chipped devices. Eventually, people will figure this out and start asking for credit cards that do not display the number. I see a great advertising campaign in the future. “You can get our numberless smart card or their numbered dumb fuck card. What’s it going to be?”

Ferguson and Dark Matter

For the last month the big story here in St. Louis has been Ferguson. At least that’s what media hucksters have sold as the big story. You will have to excuse me; my interests rarely align with “the news.” I don’t watch broadcast TV, listen to the radio, or pay for newspapers. Despite my media starvation diet I am better informed than many broadcast addicts. What’s my secret?

Everyday I read scores of news stories from many Internet sources. When I gave up broadcasting a few years ago I worried that I might miss something.  Actually the exact opposite has occurred. I usually learn of things long before they are “discussed” in main stream outlets. Contemporary broadcasters remind me of short wave Radio Moscow transmissions in the 1970s. Radio Moscow was an insipid utterly predictable propaganda outlet. Listening to what they said was unnecessary. I could predict with nearly 100% accuracy what their slant on any topic would be. They only surprised me by what they didn’t cover. With propaganda only silence is news. I bet you feel the same about that broadcaster you despise. Is it really necessary to listen to MSNBC, FOX, BBC  or the CBC? Their ideological positions are almost as predictable as cold war era Radio Moscow. If your news is not surprising it’s not news; it’s noise.

Ferguson is a classic case of surprise free news. Everyone agrees that a white police officer shot and killed a black teenager. Such a lovely bare-bones tableau invites creative interpretation and that’s exactly what we got. There are hundreds of predictable Ferguson authorities. You can Google any viewpoint you want. What’s lacking in all the hysteria is what skeptics call reliable data.

To me the officer’s guilt is similar to your favorite type of Dark Matter. The case for Dark Matter is very strong. Something out there is undeniably affecting the rotation and formation of galaxies. Similarly, we have a dead teenager, and a literal smoking gun, in Ferguson. Now pay attention; this is where we separate skeptically informed thought from raving ideological demagoguery. The case for Dark Matter is strong but the case for particular types of Dark Matter is close to nonexistent. Detection experiments are ongoing, inconclusive or outright failures. Yeah, the Dark Matter science is not settled. Similarly, the case for the officer’s quilt is far from ironclad. Perhaps that explains the grand jury’s verdict. If you disagree offer incontrovertible evidence.

Of course missing incontrovertible evidence is never a problem for people who have made up their minds. People believe all sorts nonsense, ghosts, demons, past lives, central banking efficacy, but, as I often say, “belief is a bullshit word; you know or you don’t know.”  If you cannot mount a rigorous case that withstands the harshest and meanest of skeptics please calm down and refrain from looting and arson.

I Voted for Nothing

I have just returned from another biannual exercise in futility: voting in mid-term US elections. Once again my preferred candidate, none of the above, was not on the ballot; so, once again, I held my nose and did my best to sabotage the fetid dreams of the rotting things that were. Any barely sentient ape knows that voting, especially in the corrupt US system, is almost a complete waste of time. The choices we’re presented with have been exquisitely gamed by armies of conniving manipulative hacks all hell-bent on not asking the important questions.

Behold your ballot: the primary process purged principled people leaving a scummy residue of stunted subhuman choices. Most are ignorant delusional leftists, grasping smarmy right-wing car salesmen, or outright apolitical narcissist psychopaths. I wouldn’t cross the street to pee on any of them. Where are assassins when you need them?

As bad as voting is the alternative, despotic rule, is still worse so I always haul my cynically enlightened ass to the polls and do what I can to erect roadblocks. I always vote for divided government by carefully selecting bitter opposites. I will vote for Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents, even Communists and Greens provided I can pit them against someone they detest, abhor, loathe, hate, and want dead on the other side. I want to minimize agreement and maximize conflict because conflict always results in doing nothing, and nine times out of ten, doing nothing is vastly superior to political something. So, until we get some qualified candidates – don’t make me laugh it hurts; it’s critical to vote in people who want to smash in their opponents heads.

The original republican design of the US government recognized the fundamental importance of doing nothing and divided government into three coequal branches to prevent the political class from doing things just for the hell of it!  This basic design has degenerated into an out-of-control executive, a cowardly self-serving congress, a swamped navel gazing judiciary, and an ever-expanding underachieving overpaid bureaucracy that fills in the details on massive template laws like Obamacare. It doesn’t take much of a constitutional scholar to see that this is not what the originators intended. Today we endure a massive, bloated, expensive, inept, corrupt and stupid government run by simpletons, parasites, and criminals.

Fortunately for us, government isn’t nearly as important as political assholes of all stripes think it is! As long as ordinary citizens can buy off and safely ignore government they will tolerate its existence. So keep doing nothing boys and girls; it will keep your heads off the bloody spikes you probably deserve.

slavesuggestion

Ukraine takeaway: Don’t give up your Nukes

What’s the one sentence takeaway from the unfolding Ukraine mess? Don’t give up your nukes!  It’s unlikely that any of this would be happening if Ukraine had retained their nuclear weapons instead of turning them in for the magic beans of “international guarantees.”  It would be interesting to review the anti-nuke sales pitches made to Ukrainian officials; I’m guessing large undisclosed deposits were made to key bank accounts because such stupidity is hard to reconcile otherwise.

Nuclear weapons are so icky and evil that enlightened beings pine for a nuke free world. Why?  Because the world before nukes was just so peachy wonderful!  Surely you remember that awesome world, great states only marched off to world wars every generation or so. The strong never rolled over the weak, and we all lived in peace and prosperity. OK, I’m being sarcastic about peace and prosperity, but consider this, since the advent of nuclear weapons, there have been no, great state vs. great state, major wars. [1] The simple truth is: nuclear weapons have done more for world peace than all the naïve treaties, peace conferences and marches ever held.

War, despite the propaganda to the contrary, is a fundamentally rational undertaking. There’s a famous line in the movie Patton. While watching a long line of trucks and armored vehicles roll over Sicilian countryside the great general declares that all human achievements pale in comparison to war.  Before getting your peacenik panties in an indigent bloodstained bunch think about what this means.  It’s an irrefutable historical fact that humans have invested enormous amounts of time and energy planning and executing wars. Some wars are accidental but most are planned, and here’s the surprisingly bit, many of the plans make perfect business sense. If you can crush an opponent and advance your interests with acceptable losses what’s going to stop you:  international law, naïve new age dolts, human decency, the UN?  How about nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons have pushed losses beyond acceptable and that is the only reason great states have not directly engaged in the last seventy years.

Unfortunately, the old world of a few nuclear states and a naïve non-proliferation treaty is unwinding. It was pretty frayed before the Ukraine crisis but now it’s dead. Any state that depends on a nuclear armed ally coming their rescue is reconsidering. Can Japan depend on the US to back it up in a conflict with China? What about Australia?  Even Canada has to wonder if anyone has their back in the arctic. In the years ahead we are going to see a rash of new nuclear powers.  I doubt these new powers will be stupid enough to detonate bombs in the open. Most will follow the Israeli model: acquire the ability but never officially disclose it. I suspect Iran is already a member of this club simply because US intelligence, (don’t make me laugh), says otherwise. The world is going to get a lot more scary but don’t worry you can only die – in excruciating pain — once.

 

[1] There have been dozens of great state vs. small state and hundreds of small state vs. smaller state wars but no nuclear powers, even relatively crazy ones like Pakistan and India, have come to nuclear blows. I predict that when Iran shows nuclear instead of nuking Israel it will suddenly find reasons not to.  There’s nothing like immediate annihilation to clear the mind.