Stupid Unprepared Texans Rescued in Colorado by AVSR

This ridiculous story reads like something from The Onion, yet it’s real and it says a lot about the mindset of Texans.

“These hikers were highly unprepared,” [Alamosa Volunteer Search and Rescue] said. “They had no extra clothing and no way to stay dry in their tent, with no rain fly. These hikers said they did not understand why it was so cold and rainy in Colorado, because it has been ‘so hot in Texas’ where they hike all the time.”

The issue isn’t details like 11,000 feet, but rather how Texans can be so completely divorced from reality (e.g. nature) and lack analytic skill required for diversity — lazily demand everything to be same or similar for them to do as little as possible while others have to help keep them afloat.

These hikers even rejected offers of intelligence and aid… until so dehydrated they were puking on the trail.

Being so unbelievably stupid and unprepared for risk reminds me of the recent Texas ice virus story. To paraphrase: Texas is a state failing in the most spectacular fashion.

Cryptocurrencies are digital blood diamonds, driverless cars are digital munitions

For many years now I’ve been telling people cryptocurrency is a modern form of blood diamonds.

One of the lessons of Nazi Germany and follow-on regimes like the South African apartheid government (e.g. the two countries where Peter Thiel is from) is that money laundering can be a powerful means of evading global sanctions against rights violations (e.g. how Peter Thiel made his fortunes at PayPal).

It should be obvious from history texts that cryptocurrency fits a well-known pattern. Or maybe it’s easier to see the problem as popularized in “fascist pig” movies and books.

He has vices. He doesn’t have any real virtues. If you think James Bond is a fascist pig then Fleming seems largely on your side.

A very long time ago a bank that ran a large regional power company (common in America) called me to ask if they should approve a plan for their excess power generation to be poured into an on-site Bitcoin mining operation.

My answer was a simple question: “Do you really want to fund ICBM development in North Korea?” I guess I could have asked if they wanted to generate more fascist pigs.

The bank seemed surprised, which reminded me of the Sierra Leone lyric

I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless
’til I seen a picture of a shorty armless

They asked a few questions, thanked me for explaining international history, and said they would reject the plan.

Fast forward to today and more and more proof of the problem finally is reaching the news.

North Korea Used Crypto to Hack Its Way Through the Pandemic. The isolated country continues to find ways to evade sanctions and generate income while operating on the fringes of the global financial system.

As a footnote, the American NRA played an essential role in South Africa by importing guns to prop up the illegal white police state in direct violation of international sanctions.

To be fair blood diamonds for money laundering are just the start of the problem… the laundered money is used for laundered technology sold by Americans.

Who is the digital NRA?

So maybe think of crypto even more as digital blood diamonds to buy digital arms, such as access to algorithms in a Tesla to kill people by weaponizing cars.

As I’ve said in my presentations for at least a decade, it’s far easier these days to direct 40,000 loitering “driverless” vehicles (really munitions) to destroy a city than to launch missiles from far away.

Pandemic Playbook: How Norway Took the Lead

The WSJ says Norway focused heavily on its failures, which made it a huge success that the rest of the world should follow.

Norway’s government had the foresight during the first days of Covid-19 to appoint a panel called the Koronakommisjonen. Its mission was figuring out what the Norwegians did, what they could have done and what they should do. This crisis was barely under way when they began preparing for the next one.

American Cowboy Hat True Origins: The Mexican Sombrero

“Do these Mexican hats make us look Mexican?”

An interesting note in True West magazine is that the cowboy hat was a product of shameless appropriation — white immigrants stealing everything they could from Mexicans.

As Texian cattlemen appropriated Mexican cattle and land, they adopted elements of the vaquero’s working attire. Modern buckaroos throughout the Southwest inherited much of their forebearers’ culture, including their name—an imprecise rendering of the word vaquero.

The dimensions of the sombrero overwhelmed the anglo interlopers who wore small-billed caps, slouch hats, bowlers and derbies. In 1865, Philadelphia hatmaker John B. Stetson designed a more modest version that still sheltered its wearer from the sun and rain. Stetson’s “Boss of the Plains,” originally a hand-felt design meant to amuse traveling companions on a tour of the American West, quickly became the first, and arguably the most distinct, identifiable part of a cowboy’s ensemble.

And on a related note, Atlas Obscura wants us to know the bad guys wore white hats (if not hoods).

Go digging into the history of black hats vs. white hats, and you’ll find that good guys wore black, bad guys wore white. “There is no trope or consistency in who wears white or black,” says Peter Stanfield, who’s studied the B-westerns of the 1930s.

For one obvious example, the “legend of the West” and lawman (Sheriff and Marshall) Bat Masterson wore the true working-man’s hat, the British black bowler.

Source: USPS Commemorative Stamp

In fact the black bowler was by far the most popular hat in the West and favored by cowboys and railroad workers for its obvious advantages — designed in 1840s as protective gear for hard-riding British horsemen it was firmly fitted to the head and durable. No wonder Butch Cassidy, Black Bart, Billy the Kid, Curly Howard, Shemp Howard, Roscoe Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy… all were known to wear the bowler.

Some might even argue the Stetson “American cowboy” hat company fame came directly from combining the British bowler tough guy design with the Mexican sombrero hot sun features (sombra in Spanish means “shade”), yet that also traces back to the British.

Miller Christys’ hat factory in Frampton Cotterell (moved near Bristol from London “as a result of labour troubles”) indeed recorded that it had fought a patent dispute against J. B. Stetson and WON the case.

The British hat maker had designed their wide brimmed fur felt hats long before Stetson, for the 1800s slave plantation “Boss” in the West Indies.

Source: Leverhulme Trust project “Runaway Slaves in 18th century Britain”, University of Glasgow.
Source: British Online Archives

Christys barely mention this major detail on their history page where they also show the “Boss” design that Stetson obviously took from them.

1849 The Bowler hat is invented by Lock & Co and The Bowler Brothers. Christys, from its factory in Bermondsey, London, becomes one of the largest manufacturers of this iconic British styles.

[…]

1886: JB Stetson visits the Christys’ Stockport [Manchester, England] factory and writes to enquire ‘How Christys maintains such a productive workforce? Stetson use Christys’ design for the Ten Gallon hat – for which Christys received an on-going royalty.

The original “Ten gallon” hat designed by Christys was stolen by Stetson. He was forced to pay royalties after being sued in court. Source: Christys’ official history pages

Stetson literally had to pay a foreign company a license fee to market his most famous hat that Americans somehow were led to believe wasn’t entirely foreign (when really both Christys and Stetson should have paid far more respect to Mexican hat makers).

I have yet to see anyone in America really admit the point that a slave plantation “Boss” hat of Christys is where Stetson even got his idea for a “Boss of the Plains” marketing campaign WHEN U.S. CIVIL WAR ENDED.

That’s right, in 1865 the Civil War is over and slavery is abolished. That was the year Stetson claims to have started his design — appropriation of a British felt big brimmed “Boss” design that symbolized riches for a white population, based on violent power to expropriate labor and wealth from enslaved people.

It’s easy to explain why, as some historians already have in books like How the South Won the Civil War:

Once Reconstruction ended, and with it black voting in the south, Republicans looked west. Anti-lynching and voting rights legislation lost because of the votes of westerners, and new states aligned for decades more “with the hierarchical structure of the south than with the democratic principles of the civil war Republicans”, thanks to their reliance on extractive industries and agribusiness. […] [Pro-slavery politicians] mythologized the cowboy, self-reliant and tough, making his way in the world on his own”, notably ignoring the brutal work required and the fact that about a third of cowboys were people of color.

Reagan, George W. Bush, Trump all have tried to convey themselves as “cowboy” Presidents, meaning embrace of a Southern plutocracy/oligarchy-wild west grabbing and conquering approach to governance.

The character “Hoss” on the fictional TV show “Bonanza” (1959-1973) helped to popularize a British slave plantation hat based on a Mexican design as somehow being American.

Americans today thus should probably associate their “cowboy hat” with a desire to continue Civil War more than anything, which isn’t any kind of secret if you peruse flyers from domestic terror groups.

Source: Skousen manual for white militias

You might be wondering where the two “dimples” on the top of a Stetson came into being… but yet again the Mexicans wore a pinched sombrero, long before Stetson stole that idea too.

Anyway the next time someone in security calls themselves a white hat, perhaps ask them if they meant to say the dumb bad guy “Boss” wearing a British imitation of a Mexican idea.

Which sombrero indicates the bad guy?

As I wrote here a while ago…

…Texas “exceptionalism” and “frontier” spirit meant slavery. Again, Texas was Mexico until white immigrants came with slaves and said no white man could survive the harsh conditions without non-whites to do all the hard work for them. They usurped power and seceded from Mexico (and later from America) just to avoid hard work and keep slaves instead. Being “free to be stupid” is thus a dog-whistle to slavery, which is not freedom at all.

American Business Desperate for Trains as Air Travel Falls Apart

The WSJ reports air travel reliability has deteriorated so much that business communities are scratching their head about why they can’t get on a modern high-speed train instead.

This summer’s air-travel disruptions are leading some business travelers to change plans and hit the road.

But is “hitting” deteriorating infrastructure of roads to just sit in long traffic jams any kind of real upgrade from air travel?

It says a lot that people believe stepping into the infamous security theater of a Chertoff checkpoint feels worse than driving — something incredibly stressful, dangerous and expensive. Even pilots try to warn potential customers that being in hell for up to six hours is better than American air travel.

“Drive when you can,” Tom Kubik, a retired pilot with 42 years of experience, told budgeting website Humble Dollar. “We draw a six-hour drive circle around our house. If we’re within six hours, we’re in the car. The airport experience and the hassles associated with flying these days make driving a much less stressful trip. That’s true even with gas prices where they are today.”

Rental car companies like Avis are of course ready to get behind dumping on air travel with tone-deaf logic such as this.

Opt for driving if: You dislike the crowds, lines…

Do we know what is absolutely full of awful crowds and lines?

Driving.

Based on the overall findings, the U.S. ranked as the most traffic-congested developed nation in the world, with American drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year battling traffic…

Worse, driving in America means you become far LESS safe because of crowds and lines. At least crowds and lines in airports are designed to make you safer.

The American driving model is basically a racist death trap that gets exponentially worse when things go wrong.

Aside from their weaknesses as evacuation conduits, highways are dangerous in their own right. Road accidents are a persistently high cause of fatalities in the United States. And, as the traffic jam in Virginia shows, highways are not only bottlenecks but traps. With the right circumstances—an accident, a stopped tractor trailer, the wrong kind of weather—motor vehicles can move neither forward nor back, leaving people stuck unless they abandon the limited shelter their cars offer. Worse, most emergency response is also based on motor vehicles. Stretches of highway may become largely inaccessible to ambulances or buses for evacuation, making assistance that much more difficult.

Yes, I said racist. America’s interstate highway system was a race-based design by VP Nixon (under President Eisenhower) for segregationist planners to destroy and block non-white prosperity — today experts in transit design literally call it a network of “death corridors“.

This only gets worse with racist companies like the unsafe-by-design Tesla, which pretend they are doing something innovative while obviously repeating the worst engineering mistakes in history and killing far more people.

All that sets up any intelligent business traveler to look hard at America and ask where’s the train?!

  • Economist: How trains could replace planes in Europe
  • NYT: “rail is the way to go”
  • EuroNews: “The majority of the European population would be in favour of banning short-distance flights at an EU level and taking the train instead”
  • Bloomberg: Europe Asks Travelers to Ditch Planes for Night Trains
  • BBC: How to travel by train – and ditch the plane

the poetry of information security