Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Mass hysteria is alive and well

'On October 13, 2017 the Associated Press released an eerie recording of a mysterious sound that was said to have been part of a “sonic attack” on American diplomats in Cuba. In August, State Department officials reported that several personnel at the Havana Embassy had been sickened by an unidentified acoustical weapon. The number of those affected in the sporadic, ongoing attacks is now at least two dozen. Several Canadian diplomats have reported similar health complaints. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and remembering, insomnia, tinnitus, confusion, vertigo, hearing loss and “mild brain trauma.” Conspiracy theories abound with talk of secret military weapons from a foreign power or rogue agents, possibly Russian. But delve deeper, and the government’s claims begin to unravel. 
'For starters, there is no concrete evidence of an attack. Experts agree that what is being reported is not consistent with how sonic weaponry works. A leading figure in the field of psychoacoustics, former MIT researcher Joseph Pompei, is adamant that the State Department’s claims violate the laws of physics. “Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” he said, noting that to produce such an effect “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”'

It's all happened before:
"The panic played on the innate fears of many people in their beds at home at night: a prowler in the dark, unseen, with a terrible weapon. They were rendered paralyzed, helpless; unconscious and unaware; unable to call for help. It was Mattoon, Illinois, in the autumn of 1944. A number of residents reported waking in the middle of the night to a strange, sickly odor; experiencing various symptoms, including paralysis; and in some cases, seeing a prowler pumping some kind of gas into their house through an open window. The Mad Gasser of Mattoon was never caught, his victims never clearly diagnosed, his motives never revealed. Indeed, his very existence was never even proven. Some say it was merely mass hysteria, or some other skeptical claim."

But this mass delusion is my all-time favorite:
"Koro is a culture-specific syndrome delusional disorder in which an individual has an overpowering belief that one's genitalia are retracting and will disappear, despite the lack of any true longstanding changes to the genitals. Koro is also known as shrinking penis, and it is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The syndrome occurs worldwide, and mass hysteria of genital-shrinkage anxiety has a history in Africa, Asia, and Europe. In the United States and Europe, the syndrome is commonly known as genital retraction syndrome."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Richard Perle, Optimist

On this auspicious anniversary I feel it is a good time to take a break from all the hurricane porn on TV and look back...

Almost fourteen years ago, neo-conservative operative Richard Perle gave an historically significant—or at least worth noting—speech at an American Enterprise Institute event entitled "Turkey at the Crossroads." Perle's speech was largely but not entirely overlooked at the time.

The following paragraph sums up the enthusiastic mindset of the neo-conservatives, the Bush administration and its lap-dogs in the media, and a large chunk of the American electorate who fell for the whole scam:
"So the problems that affect Americans and Turks are, I think, largely behind us. The problems in Iraq are ahead of us, but we're doing better than people think. And a year from now, I'll be very surprised if there is not some grand square in Baghdad that is named after President Bush. There is no doubt that, with the exception of a very small number of people close to a vicious regime, the people of Iraq have been liberated and they understand that they've been liberated. And it is getting easier every day for Iraqis to express that sense of liberation. 

Wohlstetter Conference Center, Twelfth Floor, AEI
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036
September 22, 2003. (emphasis added)

MP3 of the quotation

Full Transcript of the Speech (for the sake of completeness) [link broken beyond my appetite to fix it]

Update: a functional link to the full transcript is finally available again.

I know you're not going to bother to read the entire transcript so I'll leave you with a section that also tickles the jaded funny bone:

"MS. : I have a question. I was reading [inaudible] a few days ago in the New York Times, and he said that the emphasis on our Ahmed Chelabi was too much. In fact, they tried to work with other Iraqis and build a post-war Iraq. But a great emphasis [inaudible] in Ahmed Chelabi, who is in exile. Did you read that article? What are your thoughts on that article? 
"MR. PERLE: The question was about Ahmed Chelabi and reference was to an article which I haven't read. But let me just say that the Iraqi people must choose their next government, their leaders. If they choose Ahmed Chelabi, I think they will have a very bright future. 
"I've known Ahmed Chelabi for more than a dozen years. He is a man, in my experience, of absolute integrity and courage, and he would be a great Iraqi leader. 
"I read stories all the time about how he has the backing of the Pentagon. Some of us who are connected one way or another to the Pentagon who know him have a high regard for him. But he doesn't have the backing of the Pentagon. Whatever he is able to accomplish in Iraq will be on the strength of his own abilities, his character, his intelligence, and his commitment to the freedom of the people of Iraq. 
"I can't imagine a leader who more fully embodies the values that caused the Americans to believe we should liberate Iraq. He believes in democracy. He believes in individual freedom. He's a Shia who does not want a theocracy in Iraq. And it pains me to see some officials of this government make disparaging remarks about him. For the most part, the disparagement comes from people who don't know him, who have never met him, and it's based on jealousies and in some cases embarrassment. Chelabi was right over many years when they were wrong. 
"So it's been troubling to see the disparagement of this great man. But I have complete confidence that his qualities will lead him into a position of leadership in Iraq."

Let us give a big thanks to and the Wayback Machine. The Internet never forgets. 🐘

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's the matter, bubeleh?

Are you feeling down in the dumps? Is the current political scene getting to you? Does the mere mention of the T-word make you wanna poopie in yer panties? Fear not old salt, other things are even worse.

Is Guest Of A Guest the most evil website of all time? A gossip site exclusively aimed at filthy-rich NYC A-list assholes.

If you live in a small town in the midwest with a water system fed by an elevated water tower, there’s a good chance your next glass of tap water will be full of bacteria and sediment. Plus this is a good reason to not live in Missouri.

“It seems to me this cocksucking, puritanical bureaucracy is more interested in protecting the president,” the memo states, “than in protecting our airwaves. How in the world did we not investigate the Access Hollywood ‘grab them by the pussy’ tape but we’re investigating jokes? How can we can we be targeting Colbert when Fox News has a well-documented past of outright lying and presenting it as news?” Yes, it’s a joke. No, it’s not funny.

Taser International has achieved something remarkable. It has subverted the Fourth Amendment, with the eager help of local police departments. Remember that your tax dollars are paying for this. Inevitably it will lead to a ruinous lawsuit.

A reporter was arrested for asking Secretary of Health Tom Price “rude questions”. And it was barely mentioned by the “mainstream media”. Because they are far more obsessed with trivial shit. IMO it’s literally amazing that journalists aren’t being gunned down in the streets of ‘Murica every day. Someday soon maybe we’ll finally reach that Brazil level of real chaos. You won’t like it.

And the TSA Shit Factory has now banned laptops on all flights from “certain countries”. Soon it will be a federal crime to take ANYTHING on a commercial flight. Imagine people being routinely stripped naked, cavity searched, and chained to their seats. And Your Fellow Americans will applaud it. Because T*E*R*R*O*R.

"I would say Google is as close to a natural monopoly as the Bell System was in 1956. If you came to me and said 'Hey, I want to start a company to compete with Google in search,' I would say you're out of your mind and don't waste your energy or your time or your money, there's just no way. Classic economics would say that if there's a business in which there are 35 percent net margins, that would attract a huge amount of new capital to capture some of that, and none of that has happened. That tells you there's something wrong."

See? Didn’t mention the T-word once….