Archive for June, 2011

All the Stupid Gaffes the Media Mocks About Palin, Obama Actually Delivers

June 21, 11

Via AoSHQ, by I Own The World, it’s going viral:

See also related comparisons at:

DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin: “I Am Bleeding. Making Me the Victor!”

June 17, 11

I’m not going to state any position on whether blocking Torrent and file-sharing sites or hacking the govt sites is right or wrong.

I’m just going to point out the usual UMNO nonsense and hypocrisy.

From The Star 17 June 2011:

Govt won’t filter Net despite attacks, says DPM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will continue its policy of not filtering the Internet, regardless of attempts to hack into its websites or otherwise, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“This should not be seen as a restriction of one’s freedom to get services via the Internet,” said Muhyiddin, who acknowledged that the hacking attempts were related to actions taken by MCMC to block 10 file-sharing sites.

What Bizarro World stunt is he trying to pull?

They are already filtering ‘apostate’ sites (try and access FaithFreedom.org and Pedestrian Infidel) and torrent sites, and the Anonymous hack attacks were meant to tell the govt NOT to filter! The DPM is twisting the hackers’ motives 180 degrees!

Reminds me of that scene from Kung Pow where he fights Wimp Lo and the latter is totally trashed:

Wimp Lo: “I am bleeding. Making me the victor!”

Sadly cannot find the video snippet for the above. Have some images instead:

And the last line I quoted, where DPM scolds the hackers for preventing free access to the Net? Pot, meet kettle.

Dow Jones Surges After 2011 GOP Debate

June 15, 11

Dow Jones GOP Debate 2011

(Click for full size.)

The GOP debate in New Hampshire began 8pm on 13 June 2011. The various candidates for 2012′s Presidential run gave their views.

The next morning, the Dow Jones surges up +120 points after the constant slide down since the start of May.

Coincidence?

Compare against the kind of Down graph Obama generates as well as this extensive collection. It’s not an isolated case.

In Rush’s words:

Right now, folks, there’s not a Republican on that stage that wouldn’t do a better job for this country than what’s currently being done as president.

America is rejoicing at the slew of alternatives to the disastrous Obama administration train-wreck.

US Signal Jammers vs Remotely Detonated IEDs

June 15, 11

Via The Jawa Report, excerpts from Wired Magazine:

The Secret History of Iraq’s Invisible War

Afghan militants began attacking U.S. troops with improvised explosive devices in the first days after the October 2001 invasion. By early ‘02, al-Qaida bomb-makers were cramming radio frequency receivers and simple digital signal decoders into the bases of Japan InstaLite fluorescent lamps. Then they’d connect the two-and-a-half inch wide lamp bases to firing circuits, and to Soviet-era munitions. The result was a crude, radio-controlled weapon dubbed the “Spider” by the Americans. With it, an attacker could wait for his prey, set off the bomb at just the right moment — and never have to worry about getting caught. When the explosion happened, he’d be hundreds of yards away.

Meanwhile, the Army looked for ways to modify its Shortstop Electronic Protection System, designed to shield troops from artillery and mortar fire. This was a so-called “reactive” countermeasure. It monitored the airwaves, listening for one of the radio signals used by the munitions’ proximity fuses. Once the countermeasure heard that signal, Shortstop recorded it, modified it, and then blasted it back at the munition. By confusing the weapons with their own signals, Shortstop could fool the shells into prematurely detonating.

The soldiers tweaked the Shortstop to scan for radio-controlled bombs’ triggering frequencies, and to rely on a Humvee’s power supply. “The wife of one Fort Monmouth engineer collected miniature kitchen witches that inspired a new name for the device: Warlock Green,” Atkinson recounts.

Five Warlock Greens accompanied U.S. forces into Iraq in March, 2003. By mid-summer, there were 100 jammers in the warzone. It wasn’t nearly enough. Iraq’s militants had learned from their compatriots in Afghanistan, and were setting off remotely-detonated explosives everywhere.

Just like the first turn of this improvised explosive device (IED) war, the electronic countermeasures were having trouble keeping up with the bombs.

“Every time we put a countermeasure in the field – especially with Warlock – they were able to outstrip it,” says Paul Mueller, a long-time defense executive, who supervised jammer-building operations at EDO and at the ITT Corporation. “They were a step ahead of us.”

In the early fall of 2004, the Army signed a contract for 1,000 Warlocks. By March, 2005, the Army upped that order to 8,000 jammers. It was a high-tech, electromagnetic surge. And it was meant to send the militants sliding back down the scale of sophistication. “If somebody can sit a click [kilometer] away with a radio and target our guys, we’ve got almost no ability to get him,” says a source familiar with the jammer buildup. “But if he’s doing the Wile E. Coyote thing, and pushing down that plunger, at least we’ve got some chance to shoot him before he gets it down.”

Even more secret were the flights of the jammers in the sky. The Navy’s EA-6 Prowlers could not only block triggering signals; they could remotely detonate the bombs, as well. But they had to be very, very careful. U.S. vehicles equipped with jammers had to get off of the roads, or risk the deadliest embrace of all. Pilots had to make sure that civilians were nowhere nearby, when they set the bombs off.

…our Humvee rolled over an artillery shell, buried in the highway’s middle lane and wired to a radio. An improvised bomb.

The IED didn’t go off, for reasons that weren’t completely clear. The Death X bomber might have gotten cold feet. More likely, one of Warlocks in the Humvee prevented him from detonating the weapon.

2006 rolled on. The insurgency in Iraq got worse. Much worse. The number of troops wounded by bombs hit 15,000, and kept going. Explosively formed projectiles — bombs that shot out jet of molten, armor-piercing metal — went from a macabre curiosity to something like a staple of the insurgent arsenal. There seemed to be no end to the carnage.

Militant bombmakers increasingly turned to long range cordless telephones and cell phones for their triggers. That was a serious issue. The digital devices were built to overcome dropped packets, reflected signals, and transmission errors. Warlock Green’s trick of fooling a trigger with its own, modified signal didn’t work. The gadgets were used to the hiccups.

By the time I returned to Iraq, in the summer of 2007, IEDs had become relics in broad swaths of the country. The insurgents had largely abandoned their tool of choice.

It was not altogether good news.

North of Baghdad, insurgents took insulated copper threads, some not much thicker than a hair, and buried them in the dust. Then they strung them out for as long as a kilometer. At one end was an insurgent triggerman. At the other, an explosively formed projectile. It was a crude approach to killing — even more primitive than those first bombs planted in Afghanistan. But it was lethally effective.

These “command wire” bombs had a fatal flaw, however. Insurgents had to stick around to set them off. That made them vulnerable to American counter-attacks and preemption. And that brought the number of bombs and bomb fatalities way down. In December of 2007, only nine U.S. troops were killed by IEDs, and another 166 were wounded. It was still an awful toll. But it was a tiny fraction of the 69 slain and 473 injured in December of 2006.

The casualty figures continued to fall as the military began to field a third generation countermeasure — one that could stomp out a huge swath of radio triggers with all sorts of jamming techniques.

In the broadest sense, the strategy behind the U.S. jammer buildup had succeeded. Thanks to the Americans’ bleeding edge technologies, the militants had dropped back down the ladder of sophistication. They were now taking the Wile E. Coyote approach — pushing down the plunger to detonate the bomb — and suffering for it. “That was the whole intent of the program: pushing the enemy back to archaic means,” says a source familiar with the effort. “So they’d actually have to face you and fight you.”

In Afghanistan, however, the terrain favored the low tech. All the gadgets the Americans had bought and built for Iraq proved largely worthless against a new slew of throwback threats. The bombs were largely made of wood and fertilizer, making them practically invisible to metal detectors. No command wires were needed to set them off; just the pressure of an unlucky boot. The placement of the bombs added to their effectiveness. The U.S. military’s new hard-shelled, blast-deflecting vehicles were built for Iraq’s well-paved roads. So the insurgents put their explosives in the gullies and the mud paths, where the trucks were useless. The bomb-handling robots couldn’t handle the rough terrain, either. And, during the summer, the weather was so hot, EOD technicians didn’t even bother wearing their protective suits.

But one thing is for sure: it’s a long way from stopping crude triggers, stuffed into disposable lamps. It’s a long way from frantically tweaking electronics in the hope of somehow keeping thirty soldiers a day from being blown up. It’s a long way from the near decade-long fight against remote-controlled bombs in which the enemy had the advantage of being the first mover. This may be the chance to get ahead, before the next wave of terror weapons hits.

See also related at Evolution of Terrorist IEDs vs US Countermeasures.

Johor Bahru CIQ Immigration Complex is Poorly Planned

June 14, 11

No duh! I mean, anyone who has followed the narrow, winding road up and down the CIQ hill can see how convoluted and unintuitive the design is. Seriously, too much money and no application of common sense – typical of big government projects.

I suggest that the way to ‘solve’ the issue ifs to upgrade the former immgiration checkpoint just at the start of the Causeway, then demolish the useless CIQ.

From The Star 14 June 2011:

Solve JB crawl chaos

WE are perplexed and saddened by the problems of the never ending queues, jams, and time consuming clearance at the Immigration check points in Johor Baru particularly during peak hours, on weekends and during festive and holiday seasons.

These have been highlighted by numerous travellers since the opening of the ‘New’ CIQ complex in 2008 but it has not been addressed satisfactorily by the authorities.

The cause of the problems has been fully explained by people like V. Kumar (The Star, June 9) in which he zeroed in on the slow clearing systems not helped by severely under manned counters.

We also feel that the CIQ complex is badly planned and does not facilitate speedy clearance.

This has caused a lot of problems to travellers, visitors, workers and even investors (and/or potential investors in the Iskandar Development area) etc. Just imagine over hundreds of thousand people trapped every day in these jams and you multiply that by the number of hours each of these people have to queue each day!

When will the authorities wake up before the CIQ in JB become infamously known as the worst managed Immigration entry point in this region!

We simply have no business wasting travellers’ time by our mismanagement/bad planning/inadequate facilities and ineffective procedures or corrective actions (looks more like the lack of it).

Even more disheartening is the badly introduced/ill-timed biometric finger scanning procedures that have resulted in total chaos.

Didn’t the authorities have a test run to study the impact for this procedure and how it will further compound the clearing/waiting time to an already bad and unresolved problem?

Travellers had to spend five to six hours due to the finger scanning procedures during the holiday seasons.

Even up to Sunday morning one of my friends spent three hours at Immigration, even though she was at the checkpoint at 7am.

We would like to appeal to our Prime Minister to have his walkabout at the immigration check points in JB during peak hours.

Can our Yang Berhormat observe the queue involved (up to 5-6 hours) that the poor travellers have to face and how much they are suffering and unjustifiably held to ransom by a bad system/management etc.?

Can we still rely on the Immigration authorities as they have not been able to solve the problem after so many years.

And they even recently said that the introduction of the ‘Biometric System cannot be blamed for the massive jams’.

We beg your pardon? What then is causing the increased clearing/queuing time?

One must, in our national interest, look seriously at the damage to our image, credibility, economy and downtime with this avoidable catastrophe that has caused severe hardship to a lot of people.

No cost is too big if you look at the cost of not solving the problem. And please, no more denials, excuses or delays.

LAMLIM,

Kuala Lumpur.

See also previous CIQ coverage at this post which has a roundup of all earlier posts.

UMNO VP Whines That UMNOphilic Netizens Not Spewing Bile Fast Enough

June 13, 11

First, be prepared to hold in your vomit as you read this announcement from The Star 13 June 2011:

Umno cybertroopers told to act
By NIK NAIZI HUSIN

BENTONG: Umno’s cybertroopers must play an active role to counter issues played up by the online media.

Party vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the new media had put a negative spin on many issues causing the public to receive wrong information.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said what was more worrying to Umno was fencesitters who were not members of any political party as they could be influenced by wrong information provided by the online media.

“There has been a hate culture propagated by irresponsible groups against Umno.

“This hatred of Umno has influenced the people, so we need to do something drastic to regain their support,” Ahmad Zahid said after opening the Bentong Umno division delegates meeting here yesterday.

Also present was the division’s chief and Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Ahmad Zahid said the pro-Umno cybertroopers had to create something that could attract the masses.

“The information we put out is mainly limited to Umno members and does not reach fencesitters and other members of the public.

“This puts us at a disadvantage,” he said.

He added that Umno should not ignore fencesitters who could make a difference in an election.

First, let me say that if there is a ‘hate culture against UMNO’, well, they started it first and gave us good reason to ‘hate’ them.

Second, of course they would be negative towards alternative media (they’ve even whined about Facebook not being their minions). After all, not everyone is a leashed, rabidly racist lapdog like Spew-tusan. See past examples where traditional new media reporting truthfully and factually got them banned and ISA detained.

Third, as to the content put out by UMNO-cybertroopers being attractive only to UMNOphiles… Who else do they expect to be willing and eager to read seditious bile-istic lies in their own free time?

Stealth Bicycle Cops for JB

June 13, 11

From The Star 13 June 2011:

Cycling cops to patrol residential areas in Johor

JOHOR BARU: Police officers will soon be making their rounds in residential areas on bicycles.

Southern OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaacob said the police have formed the bicycle patrol team – Ronda & Riadah – in line with the GTP’s NKRA on reducing crime.

ACP Zainuddin said policemen on bicycles would patrol housing areas with eight to 25 personnel per unit from 12am to 7am daily.

He said that the decision to utilise bicycles was to provide a silent and discreet patrol compared with using motor vehicles.

Police officers equipped with walkie-talkies, vests and weapons would cordon entry points and quiet spots of residential areas that have higher incidences of crime.

He said break-ins and snatch thefts were more common between 3am and 5am.

Five hotspots in the Johor Baru South district – Taman Pelangi Indah, Taman Setia Indah, Larkin, Taman Pelangi and the city centre – have been identified to be the focus of the bicycle patrol.

He said bicycle patrols have already been deployed in Plentong, Permas Jaya and Taman Setia Indah.

ACP Zainuddin said the police were currently encouraging the public to participate in the patrol to build a stronger community spirit.

A total of 72 volunteers from the community have joined the bicycle patrol.

How to Deviously Hide Your CRAAAAZZZYY When Commenting Online

June 13, 11

Via AoSHQ from Pajamas Media, just one excerpt:

Tips for Not Appearing Crazy on the Internet

If you can actually read and understand what non-crazy people are saying and still keep your own crazy, that’s a really advanced state of crazy you’ve achieved. Be proud.

Arab Dictators Magnitudes More Brutal Than Israelis

June 11, 11

Via AoSHQ via Israel Matvaz, excerpts from gulfnews.com:

Outdoing Israel in brutality

Faisal Al Qasim writes: Zionist crimes pale in comparison with the manner in which some Arab regimes have cracked down on their own people for merely seeking change

The Arab media has, for over half a century or so, strongly condemned Zionist crimes against the Palestinians and other Arab peoples. It has in actual fact provided a hell of a lot of satire on Zionist brutality, which is fair enough. But is the Arab media still able to satirise Israeli barbarism with the same vigour after it has witnessed what Arab dictators have done to their own people? Isn’t it a bit silly to bombard the Israelis with criticism and keep quiet about savagery against unarmed demonstrators?

An Israeli journalist remarked cynically about two decades ago that the Arab media can easily see a dust particle in the eyes of Israel, and can hardly see a log in the eyes of Arab regimes. In other words, the journalist wanted to expose Arab media hypocrisy, where it ignores the massacres committed by some Arab rulers.

Funnily enough, comparing the number of Arab people killed during the wars between Israel and Arab countries with the number of Arabs killed locally, one will notice that Arab dictatorships have killed more people.

In fact, the Sudanese regime killed hundreds of thousands of its own people in Darfur. The so-called Janjaweed gangs in Sudan used to annihilate the people of Darfur like flies simply because the latter clamoured for their basic rights. An Arab satirist once commented that an Arab dictator would not accept the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza even as an appetiser!

Other Arab despots are reported to have asked their security forces to aim their guns at protesters’ heads. Have you ever seen an Israeli officer torturing a Palestinian civilian to death in the street for everybody to see? Definitely not. Many of us have seen that in some Arab towns lately.

It is true that Israel is forcing an embargo on Gaza, but I do not think that the Israelis are preventing the Palestinians from getting their daily bread, whereas the security services in some Arab countries stopped cars carrying food from entering certain areas. Nor are the Israelis cutting off electricity, telephone and other communication services from houses, hospitals and schools.

It has been reported that the security services stopped nurses and doctors from treating the injured during certain Arab demonstrations as a punishment for rising against the ruling regime. The thugs contracted by the police to help quell protests went even further. They shot at ambulances.

Unlike in some Arab countries, Arabs living inside Israel can organise sit-ins very comfortably. And when the Israeli police intervenes, they never beat demonstrators to death. And if we compare how Israel treats Shaikh Raed Salah with the way some Arab dictators treat their opponents, we will be horribly surprised, as the Israelis are very much less brutal.

It is true that Israel used internationally prohibited ammunition during Operation Cast Lead, but some Arab despots used some chemical stuff to disperse demonstrators.

Israel can always claim it is facing an enemy, whereas Arab dictators are facing their own people. Let us end with a succinct verse from the late poet Omar Abu Risha: ‘‘No one can blame a wolf when it preys on a sheep if the shepherd himself is the enemy of the cattle”.

Dr Faisal Al Qasim is a Syrian journalist based in Doha.

See also related:

Letter Complaining About JB Customs (CIQ) Lousy Service Standards

June 9, 11

Malaysia boleh!

I still remember the massive annoyance of, and my exploding RAGE at, Malaysia’s half-baked ‘upgrade’ of the immigration complex.

Previous CIQ coverage:

From The Star Opinion 9 June 2011:

Work flaw cause of jams

THE citizens of both Malaysia and Singapore greeted news of the opening of the new CIQ in Johor Baru with anticipation and hope.

When the day finally came we were awed by its scale and presence. However, since its opening there had been one nightmare after another.

I go through the Johor Baru CIQ daily during peak hours in the morning and in the evening. Since its opening in December 2008 until now, only 30% (or fewer) of the counters are open during peak hours.

Never have I seen all the counters open, even when the queue snakes all the way to the Singapore side of the Causeway. Too many times I have been caught in a traffic jam getting into Malaysia, only to find that it’s due to this.

The only time there isn’t any congestion at the JB CIQ is when the traffic gets bad on the Singapore side (i.e. not many cars are coming through to Malaysia).

The immigration counters are run like a normal 9am to 5pm office environment with no plans for handling peak hour, weekend, festive/holiday traffic.

Many times I have seen immigration officers just switch off the lights and walk out of the counters at the end of their shift, to the bewilderment of those in the cars, who are left standing high and dry.

There isn’t even an overlapping handover period between the officers in different shifts, the way the Singapore immigration officers do.

The Customs personnel also have a tendency to close all lanes and only open one or two lanes out of a dozen or so, with one officer stationed to check thousands of cars. This adds to the horrendous jams on the Causeway.

Why did the Malaysian Government spend so much money to build so many lanes and counters when these car lanes and counters are closed perpetually?

The situation has become so bad that these lanes have become permanent parking lots for the officers who work at the CIQ complex; you can see this is most prevalent on the way out of Malaysia.

To make matters worse, now there is a system whereby all visitors need to have their fingerprints scanned prior to entering and leaving the country. The reason given is national security.

While smugglers and terrorists just walk through the porous borders to the north of the peninsula and in Sabah and Sarawak, we, the genuine travellers and tourists are subjected to security initiatives that cause us to queue for six hours to just get our passports stamped.

V. KUMAR,

Singapore.

Don’t forget the illegals entering through Kota Tinggi.


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