I am a supporter of the World Wildlife Fund. They gave me a nice little gold lapel badge as a thank you. It’s in the shape of a panda which is their logo. This is a (not very good) picture of it.
That has got very little to do with this post, other than the name of the animal the WWF uses as its logo, but by way of introduction I thought I’d give them a shout-out anyway. Send them some money if you can.
What the post is really about is stupidity, a regular theme here at the fasab blog where I like to highlight and make fun of some of the idiotic things I come across.
All else may fail, but stupidity will always find a way to mess things up.
And strangely there are few stupider people than the really intelligent ones, you know, academically brilliant but who haven’t the common sense of a gnat. No offense to gnats.
It happened recently when a Spanish internet security company sent out an update for an antivirus program called – wait for it – Panda.
Yes, last Wednesday the company released an update for its Panda antivirus software, as it periodically does. All companies providing similar software do likewise.
The only thing is when other companies do it (with the possible exception of Microsoft now and again), the updates work.
When this Panda update arrived it found a major threat on the computers that were running it.
And the major threat it found was …
Sadly true. The nerds at the Panda company managed to identify components of their own program as a security threat. It’s a bit like playing hide-and-seek – with YOURSELF!
Can you believe it?
Of course you can.
Not only that, but that no one seems to have checked the update before the catastrophe was released upon the rest of the unsuspecting world.
The consequences were almost instant. PCs running the Panda update were more than a little confused. Chips had mini mental breakdowns. And some systems were left either unstable or unable to access the internet.
As soon as the problem was discovered – too late, in other words – the Panda company scrambled to send out a notice to subscribers recommending that they NOT reboot their systems. How they thought that would work remains a mystery because most people just reboot their systems when the update has finished, without reading their new emails first.
And if you didn’t get the message and did let Panda attempt to kill itself with a reboot of your system, then after the reboot you would find that you had no network access.
The Twittersphere was full of Tweets made by unhappy Pandettes – presumably using their cell phones or tablets since their PC were in a state of confusion.
“Any of you with Panda Anti Virus – DO NOT REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER!!!! – I’ve just lost 20 computers”
“Worst antivirus every. Panda has today wiped files from system32 leaving rebooted computers bricked. Do not reboot, update Panda.”
I don’t know how many customers Panda lost, but I would guess they lost a lot. Another on the endangered species list perhaps?
Another week has gone by and President Obama just keeps on digging the hole he has unnecessarily got himself into.
Secretary of State Kerry has found a bigger shovel to help. And even the US Ambassador to the UN has jumped into the hole too.
Almost everyone else is against him, even the pope.
America has never been good at foreign policy decisions, but this latest debacle over Syria has to be one of the worst – EVER!
There have been a lot of mistakes. It looks like there will be a lot more. Here are some of the main ones.
Mistake #1 – the worst of all – getting involved in something that is none of your business.
Mistake #2 – refusing to take wise advice or recognize the mood of your own people and the rest of the world. End result, you leave yourself isolated with your influence to help anyone in the future much diminished.
Mistake #3 – not learning from past mistakes of others. That just leads to repetition of previous debacles.
Mistake #4 – appointing other idiots to tour the world to make sure everyone knows how stupid you are.
Mistake #5 – failure to commit totally. At least when Dubya and his conies were intent on getting us bogged down in Iraq they had the wit to tell Saddam to prepare for “Shock and Awe”. Obama’s right hand man Kerry, on the other hand, has threatened the Syrian leadership with a military response that will be – wait for it – “… an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” Rather than intimidating Assad that kind of threat must have left him doubled up with laughter!
Mistake #6 – making yourself look like a real dumbass by trying to be a smartass and calling an opponent a jackass. It may or may not be true, but resorting to such tactics just because someone doesn’t agree with you, almost always backfires on you. It has in this case. Putin is coming out looking reasonable and sensible while Obama is making himself look more and more ridiculous.
There are plenty of other examples, but this lot will do for now.
It’s hard to correct mistakes at the best of times. But it is almost impossible to correct a mistake if you are so arrogant that you don’t realize you made one in the first place.
That’s what has happened to President Obama and that is why he just keeps on digging the hole he is in deeper and deeper and deeper.
Whether we realize it or like it, the advent of the internet has changed all our lives. From power users like myself to just casual users, things are a lot different from how they used to be.
There are, of course, negatives like the increase of spam, fraud, pornography and so forth, but by and large the impact of the internet has been a positive one.
It has made finding information much quicker and easier.
It has given us better and cheaper communication possibilities such as Skype.
It has revolutionized shopping for millions of people.
And it has spawned new social interaction platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and not forgetting blogging sites such as WordPress, allowing people to find groups and individuals all over the world with similar interests to their own.
But perhaps the greatest thing that the internet has achieved is to give freedom for ordinary people to say what they want to say and have that reach a much bigger audience than would have hitherto been possible without having to spend vast sums of money trying to do it.
Unfortunately, however, that freedom is the one thing that governments cannot tolerate. Hell bent on control, they see the freedom that the internet provides as a threat to their power. And slowly but relentlessly they are chipping away at that freedom.
In China there is no pretense or deceit. The government there controls the internet and that’s just how it is.
However in the West, as they always do, governments create smokescreens to hide their real objectives. They read our private emails and listen to our private phone calls in secret, only reluctantly admitting to it when they are exposed by a whistleblower such as Edward Snowden, last seen leaving Hong Kong and heading for Moscow.
And even when they are exposed they can’t tell the truth about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Invariably the excuse trotted out is “security issues”, in other words, they are doing what we don’t want them to do and invading our privacy, for our own good!
If governments expect the people to have confidence in them, then they in turn should show confidence in the people. That means doing their job properly and targeting people and groups that are a possible threat without treating everyone as a potential terrorist.
And it means being honest with their people.
Will that happen?
Not a chance!
As I said earlier the game isn’t about what is good for the people, the game is about control of the people. And a big part of that control is ensuring that the herd shall not be heard – if they have anything important to say that the government doesn’t want us to know!
It was either a title with a pun in it or just call today’s post “The Sunday Sermon”, but as you can see the pun got the better of me as usual.
If you hadn’t guessed, this one is my take on the goings on in North Korea.
Here we go….
Before the sermon starts I should preface it by saying we are in the current mess because politicians faffed about instead of stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons when they had the opportunity. It’s their mess, but unfortunately we are all in it with them.
JFK had Cuba and now BHO has North Korea, both countries run by dictators and both in their time posing a nuclear threat.
Why do the Democrats always get the best crises? Poor old Dubya and his greedy and power hungry ally in Britain, Tony Blair (often deliberately spelled Bliar for good reason), had to make up an excuse to start a war with Saddam Hussein. Remember the Weapons Of Mass Destruction that never actually existed?
Of course, when JFK was doing his statesman like thing, during his brief breaks between his girlfriends, I was far too young to know or care about nuclear threats or more world wars.I had other more important things to be getting on with like battling invaders from Mars or trying to pluck up the courage to explore that eerie wood just a short distance from the bottom of our garden.
So what I know about the Cuban crisis of the early 1960s is all gleaned from books and reports from that period which are now a matter of history. (We’ll leave the debate about just how accurate and reliable that is for another time.)
The truth seems to be that the Cuban nuclear crisis had very little to do with Cuba or Castro. It was a posturing competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and to a lesser degree a pissing contest between Kennedy and Khrushchev.
In both Washington and the Kremlin, although there were the warmongers, there were more people who were sensible enough to realize that devastating each other’s countries would leave them both weaker and achieve very little.They were able to reach that conclusion simply because they were people who were not completely insane or delusional.
It probably seemed difficult at the time, but for JFK it was a relatively easy crisis to manage.
The ‘nuclear crisis’ facing Obama, if indeed it is that, is a different kettle of fish because Kim Jong-un shows all the signs of being both delusional and ever so slightly insane.
He can’t be held entirely to blame for this. He is the son of a long time dictator, who himself suffered from multiple delusions. And he was brought up in a militaristic and jingoistic regime, which is what dictators like to create for themselves simply because it makes their own people easier to control. North Korean propaganda has taught the public that military goals and economic goals are intertwined and therefore that Kim Jong-un’s actions are for the good of his people.
In the latest moves to up the ante, the North Koreans have told Britain and Russia that they should consider the evacuation of their embassies in Pyongyang. They have also moved another missile to their east coast as a further threat to US Pacific bases.
This in itself is just the latest response to UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, both of which have done nothing to ease tensions and in fact have annoyed the North Koreans immensely.
Now the North Korean army is saying that it has received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers taking part in the joint drills.And all this has been accompanied by a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.
The trouble with all this posturing is that Washington, which always gets a ‘F’ for ‘FAIL’ in Foreign Policy, very seldom, if ever, gets it right at the right time.
Washington doesn’t seem to understand that the macho culture in many other countries makes it extremely difficult for them to be seen by their own people as the one who blinked first. Losing face has a terrible stigma for them.
Further military ‘exercises’ and posturing will probably have the result of leaving the Jong-un regime with little alternative (in their eyes) but to act aggressively.
How that aggression will manifest itself is anybody’s guess. Least likely would be an attack on America – it’s too far away for the type of missiles North Korea currently has.
An attack of some kind on the US base at Guam is possible, as is an attack on neighboring South Korea. The latter, depending on the scale and the number of casualties, could spark of retaliatory strikes by the US-backed South Koreans and from there it is a short step into a conventional and probably very bloody war.
And we should remember that the Korean war during the 1950s was a spectacular waste of human lives. Generals sacrificed their men for years and ended back at the 38th parallel, more or less the same place they started.
Admittedly things might be a lot different this time if China decides that the North Korean regime is too out of control to support militarily.I doubt very much if it is in China’s long term interest to have a whacky dictatorship armed with nuclear weapons on their doorstep. After all it’s only 1,000Km to Beijing and more than 5,000Km to Hawaii, the closest state of the US to North Korea. At the same time would China want an economically united and strong US dominated state on its borders?
The jury is still out on that one.
Another thing that Washington gets badly wrong is that it thinks that because it is the most powerful military nation on earth – and it is by a long way – that therefore other countries will be afraid to take it on.
Rather than a comparison with the Cuban Crisis that everyone is concentrating on, I see parallels between North Korea today and Imperial Japan in the 1930s.Both are/were jingoistic regimes with an ’emperor’ having complete control, and both created a military style regime more as a way to suppress and control their own people, and therefore to cling to power, than to attack another nation.
But things being what they are, and people being so bloody stupid it’s unbelievable at times, there comes a time when those in power in such regimes lose their sense of reality and get carried away believing their own propaganda.
Hence Pearl Harbor when Imperial Japan forgot that when something big and powerful is asleep you should never poke it with a sharp stick, coz when it wakens up it will kick the crap right out of you!
And hence, the North Koreans are not afraid of taking on America. They should be, but they aren’t, which again makes some kind of attack more possible the more they are backed into a corner.
Thankfully there are some signs that Washington might be getting the message and preparing to step back from the rapidly approaching brink.American officials have reportedly decided to “pause” the recent show of US force in Korea because
– wait for it, it’s a good one –
they are surprised at the intensity of the North’s response.
I mean who could have seen that coming? Well the answer is just about everyone except for the cretins in Washington!
What is surprising, however, is that the most sense talked about the whole affair recently has been from the world’s number one cigar salesman, Fidel Castro. In fact, make that doubly surprising, in that he has said some things that I am in agreement with and that he is still around to say it!
He said “If a war breaks out there, there would be a terrible slaughter of people” in both North and South Korea “with no benefit for either of them.” And also that the “duty” to avoid the conflict is in the hands of Washington “and of the people of the United States.”
Castro hasn’t quite figured out that once elected US Presidents do whatever THEY want, not whatever the PEOPLE want.
But what he must have figured out is that politicians like to be liked because he also warns President Obama that his second term, “would be buried in a deluge of images that would portray him as the most sinister personality in the history of the United States.”
Equally, he cautions the North Koreans that now they have, demonstrated their “technical and scientific advances, we remind them of their duties with those countries that have been their great friends.” And he urged them to remember that “such a war would affect … more than 70 per cent of the planet’s population,” and decried “the gravity of such an incredible and absurd event” in such a densely populated region.
Do you think he is hankering after one of those Nobel Peace Prizes, like the one Obama got for not being George W Bush?
And who knows what is going to happen in the Koreas?