Sunday, August 26, 2018

Infrastructural Vulnerability and the Politics of War

The weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal reports that PG&E suffered a massive loss of control of the utility's databases, leaving critical information fully available on the Internet for 70 days:
Smith, Rebecca (2018, August 24-25). PG&E Named as Utility Fined in Data Breach. The Wall Street Journal, A3As a result of the failure, 30,000 records about PG&E's cyber assets were exposed to the internet- without password protection....
PG&E is a utility with a bad reputation for public safety but their failure to identify and fix this exposure illustrates the critical vulnerability of energy infrastructures.

In 2018 Russian hackers identified and probed other such vulnerabilities in the US electrical grid:
Smith, R. (2018, July 23). Russian Hackers Reach U.S. Utility Control Rooms, Homeland Security Officials Say: Blackouts could have been caused after the networks of trusted vendors were easily penetrated. The Wall Street Journal. Available
Attacks against the grid need not be executed via cyber-attack as sub-stations are vulnerable to direct physical attacks that can take down the grid (see here).

Although these vulnerabilities must be addressed, I think its pretty clear that the Russians and Chinese would have little difficulty taking down the grid if they chose.

Although these and other nation-states may map our vulnerabilities, they are very unlikely to act in ways that lead to a war that no one can win.

Orchestrating a full scale power outage against a rival power is NOT an act likely to be pursued by a state actor, although small scale terrorists might be tempted to pursue this strategy.

Why then are Russia and China always featured extensively in these accounts of critical infrastructure vulnerability?

I think the answer to the question of their visibility can be found in the billions being made on the arms race.

Yet, the arms race produces weapons that can never be used. The arms race is primarily a boondoggle.

The arms race isn't about war. Its about rich rewards for shareholders, executives, and the last non-governmental unionized blue-collar employees.

The weekend edition of the WSJ also had an article titled "US Defense Companies Run Space Race" that dramatizes this point:
Pasztor, A. & Cameron, D. (2018, August 25-26). US Defense Companies Run Space Race. The Wall Street Journal, B3. The increased [space] budget is attracting the attention of big companies like Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. but also smaller ones like information technology specialist Booz Allen Hamilton Holdings....
According to the article, the Air Force is pursuing $44 billion for "unclassified space research, development and new equipment" over next 5 years and these totals exclude increased funds for classified projects.

Of course, the weapons generated from these investments mostly cannot be used against other nation-states without incurring mutually assured destruction.

However, the improved capacities to model information will likely be deployed for surveillance of domestic and foreign populations in addition to state enemies.

Modeling will no doubt identify growing domestic unrest as state spending is directed at "defense" while social-welfare and education are decimated.

Most of the high-tech missiles and new wave nuclear weapons cannot be used against domestic populations but no doubt "crowd control" technologies, targeted surveillance, and enhanced surveillance will ensure "peace."

Carl Clausewitz describes war in the following way: "WAR THEREFORE IS AN ACT OF VIOLENCE INTENDED TO COMPEL OUR OPPONENT TO FULFIL OUR WILL" (here).

Since violence between nation-states leads to guaranteed mutual destruction, war between nations is most likely to be waged by means other than violence.

Violence will be reserved for domestic populations.


  1. You dont think trump will use the bunker buster-tactical nuclear bomb, developed w israel, by bush-cheney and israel? Think again . There are already forces amassing by the persian gulf.

    1. Then Trump is entirely insane and we face annihilation. I can only hope that leadership of other world powers is more committed to life....

    2. Yes. Trump is entirely insane and his supporters are all frascist or Nazis!! But of course that is simply rhetoric to catch attention . . . but whose attention and why? Personally I have grown weary of all the sensatinalism. Yes, sometimes exaggerating something is useful, but for two years or more now we have had nothing but hyperbolic characterizations of Trump and several others. Neither Trump nor Putin nor Xi want anything to do with war or anything like it. My own inclinations are towards the use of reason, logic and memory for most things. Good English and some knowledge of history. "[A]lready forces amassing by the persian gulf." A few months back they were massing off the Korean Pennisula. Forces massing does not tell us much of anything. Keep that in mind. Now the leaders of Iran may in fact be a little nutty. They are not liked by their peoples. And there is almost certainly a deep seated resentmenmt of Islam since it displaced a surperior religion of the Persians, namely Zoroastrianism. Iranians are not Arabs. They are Causcasians. Etc.
      Worry more about the seismic increase around the planet.

    3. Yes and caucasions are superior to everyone else, so it is encumbent on Herr fuko the clown, to drop tactictical nukes on iran military ninfrastructure. Fuko can then send in troops, to help the iranians rid themselves of their indigionous shiite sects, they have cultivated their for a thousand year.
      The blackwater mercenaries and troops, can then move-in, to begin to murder, loot, destroy the antquities and culture of a 2500 year old civilization.
      Another destabalized nation, ruined by fascist murica.

    4. Pathetic , racist troll and propaganda drone

  2. Thanks for immediately illustrating my points. Those who regularly use the words fascist and racist are admitting that they have left the realm of reason and facts for the open fields of emotional paroxysms.

    1. St george /unknown is a racist. Thinks whites are superior. Loves trump. White nationalism. Is racist, misoogynist, does not like college professors or teachers. Disdain for young people millenials.This does nothing for jobs. Pronuke. Protrash-everything.
      This is another stunning gift from Uknown aka St Georges, hero Herr Trump. The arch nuclearist, warmonger, racist, antilife. Massacre all the grizzlies for no reason

    2. The Ass Clown Epoch


      Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

      How do we define “dumb” in the Age of Stupid? Whether you call it the Anthropocene, or the more scientific ‘Ass Clown Epoch’, stupid is the defining feature of our “smart” everything society: From our phones to the lampshades and corkscrews that increasingly depend on them to function. When the greatest minds of your generation came up with the idea of enriching themselves to the extent that no one else can survive – financially or even physically – it’s time to acknowledge that we are in the throes of irreversible human cognitive collapse. Some would point to the Supreme Dotard at its apex as symptomatic of its underlying causes rather than the cause itself. After all, stupid is the fertile foundation from which both “intelligent life” and Donald Trump evolved.

      Not all of us have the neural capabilities to say, drive a car, fill out a tax form, solve a math problem (ahem) or any of the other tasks required to gain access into the “normal” range of human activities deemed necessary to fully function in a capitalist society. No one will credit you for not splitting the atom, or consider this moral victory remotely significant. The only word that describes ‘stupid’ as it applies to people we consider “all smart in the brains and stuff” (leaders, “innovators”, tech gurus, policy wonks, etc.) has been retired, making it next to impossible to adequately mock them.

      Are we, by omission of an offensive word, upholding the dignity of disabled individuals, or simply sparing an elite class of criminals an accurate assessment of their real world abilities? For these people, “asshole” is less an insult than a badge of honor since it denotes a rugged and “alpha” disposition. Science has confirmed that the smell of sulfur has its own aphrodisiac underpinnings if it’s emanating from someone dressed as a banker or a tech bro.

    3. By the same token, “crazy” is only an aspersion if its human host hasn’t figured out a way to turn it into an electric muscle car orbiting earth for no reason whatsoever.

      Still, there’s always the risk of unfairly maligning those with actual disabilities who bear the brunt by association with those who use their intellects to devise ways of driving species essential to the continuation of life to extinction, and then talk about moving to Mars and nuking it for their own survival. We can’t call the latter “retards”, since the word still has unpleasant associations with hate speech directed at vulnerable people, yet not calling them out on their intellect-driven choices misses a valuable opportunity to reassess what it means to be “smart” and how this designation puts us all at risk as in . . . “The decision by educated and well-informed bureaucrats and corporate executives to build nuclear power plants close to the coastline of a seismically active island prone to tsunamis was monumentally . . . misguided”. As was the decision to invade Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya . . . The list is as long as our capacity to unlearn history is boundless.

      Understatements like “misguided” only serve to insulate evil-doers from their evil, and even evoke sympathy and admiration for their “plight” as remorseful serial killers with the benefit of hindsight. Even “psychopaths” enjoy a sort of cult status, and considered role models in tech and banking circles. “Retard” on the other hand, still carries the stigma of powerlessness and defect. Redirected at the people who actually deserve our scorn, rather than the blameless recipients of the slur might just give them pause before embarking on yet another scheme to hasten the destruction of the Antarctica’s permafrost. An evil genius hell bent on bringing about the end of the world seems beyond our control to thwart. A more aptly, and less intimidatingly labeled phenomena, however, might just compel us to try.

    4. The people we deem “genius”, blessed, gifted, or even capable, are too often committed to the destruction of everything or anything that sustains balance, harmony and joy for short-term, ego-driven gains that have endlessly cascading consequences for organized life on earth. Very bad ideas, once monetized, become “innovation”, while the criminal masterminds behind them them are dubbed “visionaries”. It takes a genius to devise ways to integrate banking systems, airlines, hospital equipment and vending machines so that they all crash simultaneously in some foreseeable future without running water or electricity.

      These profiteering “prophets” use their full cognitive functions to make bold and necessary decisions like streamlining human activity out of the workforce, bombing a school children thousands of miles away, or making your phone a radioactive surveillance device that transmits pictures of your dick and then stores them in a “cloud”. They do this with the full knowledge of the outcomes, but somehow their clean bills of cognitive health (or their large bank accounts) exempt them from permanent exile into institutions that reward good behavior with birthday cakes.

      We trust almost anyone in an official capacity, based entirely on the assumption that someone who ticks generally worthless boxes along a petal-strewn path of life, regardless of their track record, (or body count) can be relied on to make informed decisions on our behalf. Spoiler Alert: They don’t and no one survives.

      We mostly nod along with them as they announce that the presence of carcinogenic pesticides in breakfast cereal is less alarming than the existence of Mexicans in Iowa, or Russians on Facebook. We assume that it’s all for the best when they blithely sign a bill for increased war spending, even as infant mortality rates and homeless numbers soar, as wages stagnate, infrastructure declines and wildlife disappears altogether. We reward them with a get-out-of-jail-free card when they prove spectacularly wrong on a criminal level. Most significantly, we only question their intelligence when their hair plugs come unhinged during a meltdown on Twitter.

      If a person is somehow able to mathematically chart a course for himself to a distant, freezing planet, having helped mastermind the destruction of his own, we somehow consider this development an achievement milestone, more noteworthy than the realization that capitalism makes us dumb in ways that destroys all potential for survival anywhere. So dumb, in fact, that we are “triggered” by the only word that adequately describes it, rather than the phenomenon itself.

      Human dumbness is so multi-faceted, layered, and labyrinthine that it could be compared to an ant colony designed by the bonkers heiress of the Winchester Rifle fortune, constructed entirely of endlessly winding passages leading to dead ends, and ultimately resulting in equally dead ants trapped in a sadistic, logic-eschewing maze. The surviving progeny of the famed gun maker insisted that the ghosts of individuals shot dead by its namesake product were guiding her hands as they drew up the plans for her uninhabitable, deliberately ill-fitted house of horrors. If you consider the number of victims of US made weapons everywhere around the world, then it’s entirely possible that their lingering and unappeased spirits might have had a similar influence on the architects of late capitalism.

      Join the debate on Facebook
      More articles by:JENNIFER MATSUI

    5. Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo

  3. Racist, misogygenist, hates millenials. Hates school teachers. Mindset of hate for motivation and existence. Pretty irrational.

  4. The Master Race out in full regalia. Greetings. Herr Anonymous and Herr Calumet presenting All with psychic revelations.

  5. Three socialist saints: Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. We should toss in Lenin and Trotsky. I love this Trotsky quote: You may not want war, but war wants you. But all too many on the Left suffer from unacknowledged Aryan envy; they are spiteful. They are Facist/Nazi wanna be's, groupies. All that power draws them like a powerful magnet pulls iron fillings irrestibly. So the Left needs to face this longing and get it over with. Get the Master Race going full steam! Even if you are not from one of the superior ethnic groups you can build up yours and be winners. "The tide taken at the flood leads on to victory." Don't linger like Hannibal and let Rome go unconquered. Your obsessions with race, gender, Muslims, money, power, invectives are all major symptoms of your sickness unto death.

  6. Fascism has many colors, modes and vehicles. Fascists and nazis say they hate socialists. They want them dead. Fascism is ultraright politics, imbued with heavy doses of chauvanism and racism.

    Fascism is extreme corporatism centered around a powerful. military industrial complex. It espouses extreme fealty to and domination by the corporate powers that be. Spains-franco ruled a fascist-corpoatist state where protest was criminalized, kinda like trumps version. Chilean fascism with pinochet espoused corporate neoliberal principals along with a strong military. Pinochet ruined chiles economy and dmaged millions of peoples lives. And you are as full of shit as a Christmas goose, as usual st george.

  7. I am indifferent to muslims, while you are prejudiced against them.

    I know that scientifically speaking, there is no gentic precedent for the concept of race, you ignorant, nasty little racist-bastard.

    As for money and power gulp on! You superficial creep. You cannot take it with ya.

    1. No scientific genetic-precedance for the concept of race. I believe in democracy, freedom of religion. I do not agree with the politics of bigotry, hate genocide. Its not really a free country yet, i believe in democratic principals. If you wanna be a racist, fascist and hateful person you can do it, as long as ou do not hurt anyone. You troll a blog concerned w democratic principals and nuclear issues. I so not see what benefit you get.

  8. Trump is sticking very close to the neoconservative playbook of George w Bush. The same playbook initiated by PNAC and arch neoconservatives Bolton, Wolfowitz, Rumsfield and Cheney. The playbook that allowed them to do.911 which Trump.was privy to. The playbook that allowed them to illegally invade iraq. To desroy iraq along with most of the ancient antquities there.

  9. What does altright mean? Do you feel sickened by this cutesy meme that turned out to be such a grotesque lie?
    It means extreme right ie
    1. White suprememacy : white nationalism , whites are superior. Whites should have more rights than others more property more priviledge
    2. Dissolution of the Founding Fathers, lockian and, enlightenment  philosophies of liberal democracies . The philosophies, that contain allowances for commons and established rights and, protections for ordinary hard-working-people . Not just the priviledged.
    Rights that eventally led to humanitarian ideals. Ideals of public education, libraries, national parks. Rights that came from hard fought battles for public health and consumer protectections. Frameworks for safe work environments. Habeas corpus. Making child labor and exploitation illegal. There is a big difference between John Lockes ideals and ayn rands fascism
    3. Following the ayn rand philosophy of absolute domination of the country, by the corporate monopolies and billionaire class. The corporate interests. Mussolini put it this way, extreme corporatism.
    4. Dissolution of protections of the public, from corporate abuse and criminality. Corporate personhood. Citizens united. Like trumps proposal to abolish all epa laws, created to keep corporations from poisoning us to death. Trumps abandonment  of regulations,  even for nuclear power plants and nuclear waste. Such absurd irresponsibility and malevolance in the face of fukushima. Trump supports Abe and, his export of radioactive food. Abes reopening of dangerous reactors un Japan.
    5. Dissolution of protection of life support systems on the planet. Subsidizing and encouraging corporations, in the country to further pollute, with massive hydrocarbon burning. Quadrillions of gasoline yearly. They encourage and, subsidize the ongoing ubiquitous poisoning of our water with fracking and pesticides.    They encourage fascist government over-reach in subsidizing coal, oil, nuclear, while regulating renewables out of existence.
    6. They say you can trust the corporations to shutdown reactors and cleanup nuclear waste. A horrible lie. They never do. Corporations always walk away or  declare bankrupsy .  They simply leave the shit there to poison everyone. 
    Look at san onofre or in the St alouis landfill. As long as there are nuclear bombs there will be nuclear reactors in murica. 
    The corporations keep lobbying to keep the worse nuclear reactors, open. These same crooked nuclear corporations, say the lights will go out without the nuclear reactors. They rig the system, against renewables. Renewables would be an economic rennaisance in america, as the radionuclide apocolypse is encouraged and fully funded to make the elites more rich.

    1. 7. Extreme climate denial, to the point of clownish-nonsensical propaganda and cultish conspiracy memes.
      8. More racism through propaganda memes, like cutural marxism.
      9. The  cultivation of   consumer and ownership society society meme. A meme. that does not come close to giving people ownership, only more wall street scams and banking bubbles. 
      10. The  enforcement of their fake laissez-faire economic principals on the rest of the world. It is done through murderous strong-arming and nuclear threats .  They say, they are anti-big government yet, they somehow always have a justification for nuclear weapons. 
      All for the promotion of their brand  of extreme exploitative and extractive capitalism. The capitalism,  they claim that is necessary, for liberty .
      11. They hippocritically, fund the huge military industrial complex and the deep state that goes with it. They lie about how much it costs. They fund it, through the enslavement of many americans. 
      A massive complex, that involves nuclear reactors. Nuclear reactors are necessary, to continue producing nuclear weapons of mass destruction, that can never really be used.  They have justified their nuclear bombs and military complex, nuclear reactors, in the past as a means to interfere in other countries politics.  
      Other counties politics, that they do not consider, capitalistic or neoliberal enough.
      The ramifications of nuclear armament, entail maintainting,  a massive infrastrucure  to create nuclear weapons. A massive-military industrial complex and weapons complex, for nuclear weapon logistics. 
      Nuclear weapons that can never really be used. All done, to maintain   the illusion, to the many, of their superiority, power and material wealth on the world stage.
      12. All in all, the altright new-world-order is not so completely different, from the new world order, first proposed by George Bush Senior and, carried on till trump.  Just a lot more lies, bullshit and malevolence to it. with the most base racism, exploitation, meanness and fraud to carry it along.
      13. Disregard for nature, and natures most beautiful creatures. The embelishment of the wholesale slaughter of the last of earths most splendid creatures: Grizzlies, lions, wolves, buffalos, carribou, mountain lions, giraffe etc etc

  10. Which of you are Caesar's wife?

  11. Beginning with George H. W, Bush and lasting through Barack Obama we had rather disappointing presidencies which nonetheless paid their dues to the American Aristocracy--the celebrities, the very wealthy, the academics and experts, the movie stars, attorneys, the media . . . And then along comes Donald Trump who pretty much ignores these Aristocrats and focuses on the middle and working class folk. So these artistocratic types start stamping their feet. Yelling and threatening to bomb the White House and other juvenile behaviors; and this behavior becomes contagious and releases frustrations that have built up in people until we get a large number of people dedicated to hating Trump! Somehow it was okay to have Desert Storm and kill half a million children in Iraq, to invade Afghanistan and start a new war with Iraq, to destroy Libya and Syria, just to mention a few of the many things these presidents did. When Trump tweets it is the equivalent of Obama using the drones to bomb a wedding or a funeral in the Middle East--or worst. The fact is that if he started a war everything would settle down, and people would reevaluate him and find him just fine. Which shows just how nutty most people are.

    1. Trump has already done twice as many drone attacks as obama, dropped twice as many bombs u lying sack of shit. They are both part of the same machine u ass. Trump.flaunts racism and hate. What an evil lying little man you are william st george. Pronuke troll to boot

    2. The only ones who threaten to bomb the white house are rightwing wackos like u st george. Trump is the worst celebrity narcissit possible. What a looney gaslighter and confabulator. Working class people very tired of trump. Maybe the few white supremacists in america are not. Such a silly little nowhere man

    3. One of u wackos threatened to bomb trumps staff, cause u thought they were being mean to him. That is how insane you all are.

  12. Okay, let's see you back up your facts on the drones and other bombings. That will be twice as many drone attacks and bombings.

  13. There is this in zerohedge
    Trump Administration Dropped More Bombs Than Bush And Obama
    Zolna Report June 24, 2018
    YouTube · 2 months ago

    And the billion dollar dron base Trump is building in north africa to triple what obama did

    1. You are right. Very distressing. It is being hidden pretty well.

    2. There are numerous other articles on the bombings subject. Certainly not being headlined much. Why? Right went after Obama's military adventures; the Left went after Bush's. Neither appear interested in Trump's.

  14. Another subject: while the Nazis and Fascists get a lot of attention, the Marxists and Communists get almost none. Yet the latter have a significantly larger body count. The Black Book of Communism suggets about two hundred million dead as a result of Communist regimes. Granted Communists have a tinge of idealism lacking in Fascism but when it comes to killing the Communists seem to excel. "One murder from utopia." Wnen do I get called a commie?

  15. I think all those presidents hould be held accountable. Clinton, obama, bush, hillary. Bush 1. Industrial empires run by overlords, whether rappaciously murderous capitalists or other totalitarian overlords suck. You have this bee up yur butt about commie. Commie this commie that. Makes you sound like a drone or, bot or agenda shill. Maybe u r. Wgaf. Show u r real. Show u can think critically. Enough of the propaganda and parroting already

    1. Interesting that you use the word real as I generally regard the people here as Velveteen Rabbits . . . or sometimes Pinocchios. As Westerners you regard the world and things as reality or the real. There are other perspectives.

  16. Has anyone here read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipeligo? Or any thing relating the great, polictical, Chinese famine of the late 1950's? "Commie this Commie that." coming from someone who does 'Facist this Facist that'. My point is that most seem to still consider Communism an acceptable politicl-economic solution, or call it Marxism. Many academics certainly do and probably Majia thinks Marx is okay and worth reading and reflecting on despite where his thought has always led. Foucault was a cultural Marxist. American universities seem permeated with the relativism of postmodernism. Have any of you read the
    Black Book Of Communism? What do you know about Stalin? Fess up.




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