On the Subway in an Anarchist Jurisdiction

These two subway riders had on great masks, funny, macabre, slightly disturbing. I’d given one of them, the Barry Goldwater lookalike who made eye contact with me, a thumbs up and called across to him “great mask!” He nodded, with that same fixed, mad, clownish smile plastered across the lower part of his face.

I was sorely tempted to photograph them, and eventually did, realizing, as I cropped the photo there in the subway car, that nobody has any reasonable expectation of privacy any more.

Tech Support and BIRD WINS

About a week ago I went to post something on this blahg, which I rent from WordPress (they never fail to thank me each time they automatically bill my credit card), and got this message:

Currently, my laptop won’t allow me to so much as visit my blahg, out of an overwhelming concern for my privacy. There was no way to overcome this uncompromising protection of my privacy to post on this blahg, or even visit, except on my phone. I contacted WordPress (email only) and was told I probably need to update my macbook operating system. I noted:

I resist doing the updates on the macbook because Apple, in its infinite greed, is notorious for disabling useful features of their native programs with each update, clawing back once-included capabilities so they can sell them back to you.   

A few days later I was given three things to try, by Happiness Engineer Tish, (the second idea was overcoming my reluctance to have all programs reformatted and some randomly rendered useless) and wrote back:

Hi Tish,

Took a weekend away from technology.   Now I’m trying your suggested fixes.

1- clicking this link got to the same message as the screen shot I sent a few days ago, Your Connection is Not Private!

2– still reluctant to have all of my programs reconfigured/disabled by Apple as they have been every update since at least 10.6.7

3– installing Firefox now (unless I get a Connection Not Private! message preventing it),  Here you go:

There used to be a game in the Chinatown Arcade in NYC where a live chicken would play all comers at tic tac toe for 50 cents a game.   The bird went first.  If you played well you could tie, but I’d never seen anyone beat the bird.  After the bird beat the sucker, right after its victory dance (the disk it stood on would wobble and it would exert itself not to fall over) it would frantically claw for a couple of kernels of dry corn, literally two or three, that were its reward.  While this was going on a big lighted sign flashed BIRD WINS.

Perfect parallel for technology companies of all kinds.   You want the feature you’ve always used?  Tough.  We had a team of geniuses redesign it completely and it’s what you want now.  Choice is for the people who bring you this miraculous technology, they know better than mere “users” what is actually desirable in the product.  Capitalism runs on eternal “improvement” and built-in obsolescence.  Tech companies, even a nice outfit like WordPress, are the masters of this.  New design, new world order.   Read Shoshanah Zuboff’s “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism” and shudder for the amazing world of crushing pressure to conform kids are growing up in now, ushered in by “social media” and unlimited, ever more thorough data collection from “users”, in the name of… well, profit, mostly.

Anyway, thanks for your help.  I’ll probably wind up updating this machine and using it just as a word processor, as nature intended.


P.S. Before I sent this I tried one more thing.   DuckDuckGo just fixed it, I can get to the innovative (and, like, totally improved, even if the theme I use is now “unsupported”) WordPress block composer from there.

I did not bother to add, for Tish, a complete stranger, that I am clearly, as my father more than once noted, the kind of person who’d complain if he was hanged with a new rope.

Punchline, which I sent to “tech support”:

DuckDuckGo allowed me to get on the WordPress site, write and post an entry.  Once.  Now I get this again:


NOTE: had to add this using my phone

when you try to defeat this unwanted “protection” you get this message:

gratuitousblahg.com normally uses encryption to protect your information. When Google Chrome tried to connect to gratuitousblahg.com this time, the website sent back unusual and incorrect credentials. This may happen when an attacker is trying to pretend to be gratuitousblahg.com, or a Wi-Fi sign-in screen has interrupted the connection. Your information is still secure because Google Chrome stopped the connection before any data was exchanged.

You cannot visit gratuitousblahg.com right now because the website uses HSTS. Network errors and attacks are usually temporary, so this page will probably work later.

Or, if you prefer, Go fuck yourself. Have a great day!

Some very sick and dangerous criminals

Hitler supporters called the democratically elected German officials who signed the punitive armistice that ended the First World War “the November Criminals”, traitorous cowards who stabbed the victorious German army in the back. Criminalizing your opponents is a great way to underscore for your people that this is an existential war between morality and Evil. It did not hurt the German rightwing narrative that some of the November Criminals were Jews, who, you know, no need to say more.

Isn’t that right Adam Schiff?

Seditious Conspiracy, Mr. Eastman?

Right wing legal extremist John Eastman needs to testify about his expansive role in Trump’s wild plan to overturn certified election results and have himself declared the winner of an election he lost by an 8,000,000 vote margin and an Electoral College tally identical to the one he racked up while kicking Crooked Hillary’s ass, while losing by a much more respectable 3,000,000 votes.

Mr. Eastman had put himself on the radar of Mr. Trump’s political aides during the election when Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign, had shared on Twitter an article Mr. Eastman had written. The article, in an echo of racist questions stoked by Mr. Trump about where President Barack Obama had been born, questioned whether Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden’s running mate, could legally become president because her parents had not been born in the United States.

Now, confronting election results that showed Mr. Trump lost, one of Mr. Trump’s aides reached out to Mr. Eastman to see whether he could come over to the hotel to help Mr. Trump’s team.

Mr. Eastman said he was only in the room for 15 minutes before being ushered out — but it was long enough, he said, for him to catch Covid-19 there, and he became ill for several weeks. By the time he felt better, it was the beginning of December — when Mr. Trump called to see whether Mr. Eastman could help bring legal action directly before the Supreme Court. In the days that followed, Mr. Eastman filed two briefs with the Supreme Court on Mr. Trump’s behalf, but those efforts quickly failed.

The Lawyer Behind the Memo on How Trump Could Stay in Office https://nyti.ms/3A7XCfE 

This legally sophisticated pettifogging Birther seditionist needs to testify under oath about his role in advising the former president on a supremely brazen last ditch extralegal way to cling to power, and about the intent behind his speech to help whip up the crowd who marched down to the Capitol and lynch the weak, disloyal Mike Pence.

Am I wrong?

Rupert Murdoch to Rudy — yer not welcome on FOX, mate

Talk about cold, Rudy “America’s Mayor” Giuliani was informed by officials at FOX, the day before the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, that he was no longer welcome on The Fair and Balanced network. Talk about cold-bloodedness enhanced by brutal timing. I don’t like Rudy, he was an abusive, self-aggrandizing right-wing dick as NYC mayor, he has always been a litigious blowhard, defender of inadvertent police violence, bringer of frivolous lawsuits on behalf of a would-be tyrant, desperate promoter of the deranged lies of his former best friend, the former POTUS. I don’t like anything about Rudy, but, damn, that was cold of FOX, after all the views the demented former prosecutor provided for the network over the years.

Seth Meyers put Rudy’s subsequent bad mood in perspective, highlighting just one example of Rudy going on when he’d have better served himself by keeping his own counsel, and his mouth shut: