Tuesday, March 10, 2015

47 Senators Commit Treason, Violate The Logan Act

No sitting US president has ever had to deal with as much disrespect, opposition, or now, treason, than Barack Obama. Not Bush Jr, not Clinton, not Reagan. Not Carter, not Ford, not Truman.
None.

This week, 47 Republican Senators committed treasonous acts by first inviting a foreign president to dictate foreign policy to the US Senate, and followed up this action by directly communicating with Tehran in violation of the Logan Act, which prohibits anyone but the President from conducting diplomacy with enemy states such as Iran, Syria, or other nations like Cuba.

To be clear, this is an attempt by Republicans to again undermine and sabotage a sitting US president, and a clear power grab attempt.

But nothing will be done. And Republicans know it.

Why? Well, let's look at the big picture.

First of all, Obama stirs up VIOLENT and racist thoughts in the GOP base. Any action Obama takes will be seen as politically motivated (let's never mind that pesky Logan Act law, nobody has ever actually been prosecuted, and only one person has ever been indicted).

Let's pretend for a second that Obama tells Eric Holder to bring charges against 47 US senators. What's that going to look like to the Fox-zombies out there? The story would blaze across Fox and WSJ: "Obama attempts to dissolve congress, charges GOP with TREASON!". And the USA goes into a second civil war.

Don't think that would happen? Well, I sure do. That's the last thing we need.

But, the GOP have talked for years of impeachment, wouldn't it be only fair to actually prosecute people who actually broke the law? Sure it would! But the fallout is not worth the risk. Perhaps when Obama is out of office, charges could be brought against these traitorous senators, but if Obama does it, the US ignites in a rage of fury. There is no doubt in my mind.

So for now, we as US citizens have to watch our democracy shattered by the GOP loud mouths, watch as our system of government is disrespected, abused, and usurped, and there's not much we can do about it. We literally have zero power over those corporate whore warmongers. The SECOND a GOP President gets elected, with a GOP congress, you better start hoarding your food, and putting your savings in mattresses... this shit will get UGLY. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Why ISIS Might Be Able To Unify The Mid-East

No, I'm not saying ISIS is good. Seriously, nobody says that. What I am saying is that I've now seen more than several nations strike back at ISIS, and some of them are Arab Spring nations. Now, while ISIS has enjoyed some victories, they will be temporary. Cities will be re-taken in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. Mostly because of U.S. and local forces, but ISIS isn't making friends, and while it's busy pissing off the entire civilized world, now it's pissing off the nations you'd think might ave turned a blind eye tot he formation of an Islamic state.

Turkey has taken the gloves off, along with Iraq, Iran, Jordan, and now, Egypt. EGYPT! Egypt is by far the largest and most democratic of Arab states. While all of the above mentioned countries with the exception of Turkey and Jordan have gone through the so-called 'Arab Spring', and have internal struggles of their own, Egypt is a titan among them all. Even with the civil strife, they still have an incredibly effective (and U.S. armed/trained) military, and they do not take kindly to threats against their citizens - Muslim or Christian. ISIS miscalculated heavily.

Jordan is also a staunch U.S. ally, and now they are bombing ISIS in retaliation for the beheading of their pilot. In each case, the motive has been 'revenge'.

While ISIS draws foreign fighters to their fronts, they will never be able to form a safe and secure Islamic state after pissing off Egypt. Not going to happen.

The US calculus on this has been painfully slow to watch, but the results now speak for themselves. ISIS is an Islamic problem. An extremist faction which is detestable to civilized Muslims. Fatwas will be issued by powerful imams in Iran, Egypt and maybe even Saudi Arabia (who knows?). ISIS began surrounded by enemies, and they will perish surrounded by enemies. The US was wise to allow the Muslim world to experience some losses a-la ISIS, as brutal as that may have seemed.

Obama has been adamant about how ISIS, Iraq, Syria, Libya are issues for them to sort out. The violence NEEDS to run its course, like a fever burning through a patient. The end result is a civilized Middle East which is all but immunized against this sort of militarized radicalism (or not... you know, Afghanistan...). That may be a rosy picture, but once you have Egypt on your ass, you're pretty much done. Now that Egypt, Iran, Jordan, etc are saying NO to ISIS, they're going to be short lived. I give them a couple years, at best. It's just such a shame all those people want to throw away their lives for something that the Arab world will never allow to happen.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

There Is No Sugarcoating The Fact That Republicans Are Evil

While political hyperbole is rampant these days, I have a very hard time finding any negative criticism directed towards the GOP to be unfair. Plainly, there is not one honest Republican in government. They're all after your shit, and gaining power does not satiate them. They are the party of 'Let's say one thing and do another'. They are the party of 'stupid is fucking awesome, let's be feckless toolbags and say FUCK THE NERDS!'.

These guys have more power than I'd care to admit. They took control of Congress, and already they have:

Tried to kill Social Security
Gone after abortion (ad-nauseum, again and again... fucking assholes, leave it alone!)
Tried to start more wars (with Iran)
Promised to take away health care from the millions who bought it under Obamacare
Campaigned for LOWERING WAGES
Tried to enforce more of that failed 'welfare drug test' bullshit (costs more than it saves... but you know, math... empathy... meh)
Tried to pass Keystone XL pipeline (Thankfully Obama will veto this!), even though we have no less than THREE FUCKING OIL LEAKS destroying MASSIVE amounts of pristine wilderness, INCLUDING Yellowstone national park
Attempted to de-fund and neuter the EPA
Ted Cruz is now going to control the purse strings for NASA
They've barred the Pentagon from acknowledging that climate change is a threat
Redistricted the nation to favor their party and make it nearly impossible for Democracy to occur
Supported racist cops who shoot unarmed black teenagers

..and they call the Democrats 'evil socialist monsters'.

Guys, this is shit that SUPER-VILLAINS do, not politicians. This kind of fuckery would make Dr. Evil blush in admiration. These complete jagaloons have no respect for anything but that almighty and fictitious dollar.

Seriously America, what the fuck?

During this time, the GOP has literally convinced people that those 'radical leftists' are 'coming to get you'. It's like being punched repeatedly in the face by a bully saying "Look out for that dude over there helping that old lady cross the street, that guy wants to fucking kill you!". I do not know how Americans can be SO FUCKING STUPID to vote these guys into power. Really.

As a litmus test, I seriously want you to do this:

Go online. Look up ANY bills that were passed by the GOP in the last 20 fucking years and ask yourself if ANY OF THEM HELPED YOU?

I know the answer, which is "absolutely fucking nope". But humor me.

There is literally no harsh criticism I can give to the left, except for the fact that they are shrinking violets when it comes to getting aggressive in politics. That shit needs some serious work. They've tried very fucking hard to give you the liberties, and privileges that every American deserves. The right to grow old with dignity and not in poverty. The right to health care. The right to a well paying job. The right to higher education. The right to a public elementary education. The right to clean air and water (Wait, that was NIXON!!). The right to have a planet that support LIFE!!

What the actual fuck have any Republicans done for YOU other than demonize the left, attempt to destroy every mountain, river, and glacier, sell and burn more oil, and sabotage our country?

Really, what the fuck have they done? I BEG someone to tell me even one... fucking... thing...




Wednesday, November 5, 2014

GOP Is In Power, And Out Of Excuses

Well, the GOP did it. They took both houses of Congress and now have leverage with the budget. Strap yourself in, it's about to get fucked up in this country. Mitch McConnell is now the Senate Majority leader. This would be great for him if it weren't for Ted Cruz, who is slated to fuck up Mitch McConnell's program by way of continuing to attempt to repeal Obamacare, and who has already threatened another government shutdown now that the GOP control the purse strings. Yeah, it's about to get ugly.

And Obama would be wise to allow it to happen.

The GOP for the last decade or so, have been anything but helpful to the USA. They've pissed away the massive surplus of the Clinton days, and gave it to the banks. The Bush Doctrine created an endless war with an ideology (Islamic terrorism) which sought to pad the pockets of companies like Abrams, Northrup-Grumman, Halliburton and of course the renamed Blackwater. The middle class was gutted and has all but evaporated.

And then Obama got elected, and McConnell told his party NEVER to cooperate with him. Then they accuse Obama of being a tyrant when his only power is executive action.

Well, Obama, I say this. Don't negotiate with terrorists, and the GOP are terrorists. If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

The GOP has been purchased by powerful special interests, namely the Koch Brothers, Rupert Murdoch, and the far Christian Right (megachurches). You can't deal with people who have been bought. They're not out there to 'do the right thing' and support American values. They exist as corporate shills to represent the interests of big money. Good luck getting anything out of the GOP that isn't tied to expanding energy production (at the extreme expense of citizens and the environment), attempting to repeal Obamacare (ONLY because a Democrat passed it... the law works, it was their idea in the first place, and a HUGE boon to the insurance industry... which does drive down costs), and more probably pressure to get into another fucking endless war with Syria or Iran.

Obama would do well to do what he has been. Allow the GOP to shut down government to spite him. Allow the GOP to continue to attempt in futility to repeal Obamacare. Allow the GOP to attempt to start more wars (and veto). Troll the fuckin shit out of them. Make them lose their goddamned minds, and they will slip up. You'll see the racism, misogyny, hate, and the moronic ideas flow. They will expose themselves for what they are, and try to paint he roses red, but you know, in the end, it's up to the American people to pay attention. If they don't none of that will matter.

The GOP will attempt to do one thing and one thing only. Sabotage the office of the President, as they have done from day one. They will do everything in their power to ruin this country, and then blame Obama for it. That is actually their stated strategy. All while they de-fund the EPA, and foul our waters, expand oil and gas, loosen restrictions on banking in order to let the Wall St parties go crazy, and probably keep attacking Roe v Wade, continuing the war on women.

Get ready for a shit show. The districts have been hopelessly gerrymandered, and the GOP is doing all it can to rig our democracy int heir favor. They have to win by cheating.

The GOP would be wise to send bills to the president's desk with no bullshit. No bill riders, no more attempts to repeal a working and well-liked law. But you know, one thing the GOP is not is wise. It's ruthless, and organized, but not wise at all. Welcome to the Idiocracy.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Get real, Upworthy.

I know I’ll seem at the very least, slightly douchey, and at the most completely out of touch with humanity, but there are things that are bugging me about Upworthy (who I unfollowed now) at the moment.

It all started with the ‘100 catcalls’ video, and other ‘Upworthy’ videos being posted by Upwothy’s Facebook page. First of all, I don’t disagree with the messages, but I’m not liking the messenger. Upworthy’s slogan is “Things that matter, pass em’ on”. And while I do think, socially, women’s issues such as catcalling by males, IS something that should be addressed... right now, at this point in history, it should not be our FOCUS. And Women's issues PALE in comparison with issues that affect EVERYONE (all 7+ billion of us). About 4 out of 5 posts by them lately references this video, and are geared towards empathy (which isn't bad... it's just not the top threat to the world right now). Really, at this point in history I consider politics, money, social issues, and anything else completely secondary to the fact that humanity is destroying our planet, and if we continue to be distracted by—SQUIRREL!!! We are doomed.

So I unfollowed Upworthy. I don’t want to be distracted by first world problems, social issues, or petty politics. I don’t care if your feelings are hurt by the occasional whistle in your direction when compared to the acidification of the ocean and the death of its inhabitants. I don’t care about LGBT issues in the face of rising ocean tides which will destroy islands and the state of Florida (although if there is any state which  deserves it…). I don’t care about a kid hearing for the first time and making a cute face because he or she got a cochlear implant when compared to the fact that 50% of all species on this planet were annihilated by US. I don't care about my own issues, which is the global acceptance of Atheists as good people with things to offer, when compared with the imminent famine, death, and slow creeping destruction of our way of life.

I'm not saying these issues don't matter to me personally, but for the sake of the ENTIRETY of the human race, they are miniscule. 

These issues in the face of the looming destruction of our ecosystem which feeds us and keeps us alive are small. Upworthy, as of late, has dedicated probably 60-70% of posts SOLELY to shaming men (for what is basically male behavior you can see in any animal on the planet, but oh, we’re not part of the animal kingdom, I keep forgetting and Christians keep saying…), and women’s issues. Which, you know, if you ignore all the stuff I just said, seems perfectly reasonable. Women are sexualized, marginalized, harassed, cheated out of fair wages, and told what to do with their bodies. And I do weep for them.

However, NONE of that will matter if we are ALL DEAD. The recent U.N. report on Climate Change should have us all shitting our pants in regards to the ignorance, distraction tactics, and further stupidity of the human race in regards to this subject that seemingly nobody but scientists and the left wing is noticing. And even they have been pathetic at properly sounding the alarm on this topic.

Let me put it this way. Since 1990, we have killed HALF, I repeat, HALF of ALL SPECIES OF ANIMALS AND PLANTS ON THE PLANET. HALF!!!! That is literally hundreds of THOUSANDS of plants and creatures that no longer exist. The Amazon Rainforest, which is responsible for a very large percentage of H02 production (air) has been decimated, and the destruction is accelerating, not decelerating. The amount of carbon WE have pumped into the atmosphere is now higher than it was 120 million years ago after a comet impact! We have polluted our fresh water tables in the name of having electricity for customers, who are now being poisoned… great business model fuckers…

So yeah, I said adios to an Internet meme/article purveyor who isn’t improving our existence. Maybe in the short term they cater to social issues, but you have got to see that in 50-100 years, this planet will be damn near uninhabitable.

Rising oceans will erase island nations, like  Kiribati, Micronesia, Tuvalu, and more. More moisture in our atmosphere will drastically alter our climate, and produce stronger and worse storms (last year there were no less than two and possibly more “Super-Typhoons” which made Katrina look like a kitten in comparison). Less habitable land and a higher population (currently at over 7 billion, expected to reach 10 billion by 2020) will lead not only to more conflict and war, but famine and scarcity of food, potable water, and living space. More aggressive bacteria, not to mention viruses and bacteria which can survive being frozen for millennia (that’s thousands upon thousands of years) are reactivating and re-entering our mix…

DO YOU SEE WHY OUR SOCIAL PROBLEMS ARE RIDICULOUS TO FOCUS ON, AT THIS TIME?

Humanity, there is ONE problem to be solved at this moment, after which you can CERTAINLY move on to #firstworldproblems, or whatever else bugs you that nobody gave a rip about 100 years ago. YES, it is important to respect EVERYONE regardless of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, or creed in the modern age. BUT it is NOT AS IMPORTANT as the fact that in everyone’s daily lives, you produce probably over 10-20 pounds of non-reusable waste. It’s NOT as important as the fact that water, you know, that boring clear liquid we need to SURVIVE is becoming so scarce that entire populations of people are dying. Every day. It’s not as important as the fact that the foundation of our food chain, or even links in it, are being threatened every day.

Get your damn priorities IN LINE people. Yes, every day I am reminded that I’m an Atheist in a Christian-dominated country. Yeah, I super hate it when I feel judged, or people just assume stuff about me. I totes can’t stand Internet ads, or the fact that everything Google is spying on me. And sure, I wish I had a flying car, and could take a space plane into zero gravity and fuck around.

But again, none of this, NONE OF THIS matters if we kill/maim/destroy our ONLY HOME.

The nearest habitable world to us is over 4 light years away. That’s in the Sirius system. Good luck getting there in one piece, with enough people to repopulate.

Come on people. Time to get selfless and REALLY get serious about “Things that matter”.

I’m not saying stop social progress. I’m not saying stop doing right by the oppressed and sticking it to the oppressors. What I AM saying is if we don’t address THIS looming issue and focus ALL OF OUR INTELLECT, MIGHT, AND POLITICAL CLOUT on it, all the shit you’re fighting for will only matter to an alien civilization that excavates our fossilized corpses thousands if not millions of years from now.

/endrant

Thursday, September 18, 2014

False Equivalency


This is a growing trend among the ‘freaked out’ crowd lately. The crowd that wants you to just STOP what you’re doing and PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR ISSUE! So often now, I will see, especially on news articles, but occasionally in normal conversation (which is disturbing) the tendency for people to say things like “You’re worried about whales? What about BENGHAZI?” or, “Why is this news station covering this story when a white guy got beat up by a black guy? WHERE IS THE COVERAGE”. This is an attitude morph from ‘false equivalency’ arguments made by many people who have lots of opinions, but little to no facts, not to mention a serious case of myopia.

In debates or political rhetoric, this often comes in the form of some “Let’s not talk about this issue, because it distracts from the issue I WANT YOU to pay attention to”. For example, many times in modern political debates (let’s say, we’re talking about climate change, which has sadly become politicized instead of remaining in the scientific realm where it belongs), people will start the discussion with “Global warming is a serious issue that we must address in order to survive”. Immediately and almost predictably someone will inevitably attempt to either compare this subject with something completely unrelated, like abortion, or they will attempt to derail the entire conversation by saying something like “Why are we talking about Global Warming when it’s clear ISIS is on the move in the Middle East?”.

False equivalency is a distraction tactic, and is usually employed by skilled and unscrupulous debaters. However, the ‘general public’ emulates what it sees on TV. Nowadays, if you follow news media such as CNN on social media like Facebook, they opened themselves up to these very people who have been influenced by this behavior. For example, CNN made it possible to post to their ‘wall’, so you can go to CNN’s Facebook page, and post news stories directly to it to ask CNN to give it a look. SO MANY posts are along the lines of “CNN, why are you covering whaling in Japan and not giving THIS story (pick any topic) any attention?? You suck!!”, to which CNN, usually exercising infinite patience and restraint will issue a canned and adult-to-child response such as “Thank you for sharing this with us. We covered this at (URL) a week ago. We will see if this warrants an update, thank you”.

The notion among the less-than-critical thinkers out there seems to be that the world, and all of its news agencies, must immediately drop what they are doing to focus on their unrelated issue. Otherwise, it’s got to be a clear conspiracy, because why ELSE would a news agency simply fail to report on my issue of choice?!

Let’s be clear. Each issue demands a separate but not necessarily equal amount of attention. Debunked ‘scandals’ such as the Benghazi attack, or the conspiracy laden cries of ‘false flag’ for mass-shootings, or the whole ‘9/11 truther’ stories do not warrant the same attention in mainstream news as say, the fact that the USA is again going back to another war zone in the Middle East (and a familiar one). However, this does not mean that a massive news organization such as CNN isn't covering the story you’re getting all worked up about. They probably are.

It is amazing to me that in the age of instant information, Google, and mobile computing that anyone would be SO LAZY as to not simply search for their topic and see where it is being covered. Chances are there are literally hundreds or perhaps thousands of articles covering what you want to read about.
It must be really hard for people to stay ‘on topic’ on the web. It reminds me of the meandering and sometimes drunken conversations I might have with a buddy while blowing off steam or just hanging around. Starting with ‘how nice the weather is’, it segues into topics like humming birds, then on to dinosaurs, then on to how stupid people are that don’t believe in dinosaurs, then on to religion and politics, like some creatures that’s constantly morphing in and out of different forms. Only when you read stuff like this on the Internet it just looks absolutely insane.

I’ll be the first person to tell you, humans are not sane creatures. We kill each other, kill everything that we deem tasty, invent horrific weapons like nukes and chemical bombs, then develop moral conversations about it that are meant to elevate ourselves above the beasts of the world. Eloquent words are spoken, agreeable points made, and life goes on. But don’t think for one measly second that anyone on this planet, especially including myself, knows anything outside our bubble. We simply don’t. Especially not me. I read a lot. I call myself informed on certain issues. But there is simply too much to know, and from someone else’s perspective, I’m as insane as I think they are.

But back to false equivalency, it really needs to die as a tactic. How about you just say something like “CNN, have you covered this yet” instead of “CNN, you rat-bastard fuckheads, why the hell are you covering a feminist who was groped, when PETA is killing thousands of puppies daily?”. Apples and oranges. They’re not the same subject matter, they’re not related, and chances are very good it’s already been completely covered.


Maybe I was a prototype of sorts for the new A.D.D. future, where we’re all so damn distracted by – oh shit, butterfly!... where was I? Oh, yes, false equivalency… 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You poor kids don’t understand the cloud.

OK, well now that everyone’s having a complete “moral moment” about this celebrity hacking thing, you knew it was only a matter of time before ‘the note’ from me. Well here it goes.

While I appreciate everyone’s attention to the issue of celebrity voyeurism, this sort of thing has gone on literally since photography as invented. From paparazzi shots of celebrities at nude beaches published in tabloid magazines, to stolen photo albums, to sex tapes, and beyond, rich celebrities living the nude life are nothing new. What IS new is ‘the cloud’. The current ‘moral storm’ of “Let’s feel really bad for celebrities who make a fuck-ton of money” is noble and all, but let’s get at the root issue, the ignorance most people have of the ‘cloud’ THAT is the subject of today’s lesson. I’ll also try and explain why taking digital nudes of yourself is also a very bad idea (a lesson I learned when I was younger).

What the hell is the cloud?

The ‘cloud’ is a silly name meant to simplify for the user the definition of ‘off site data storage’. You are uploading and downloading your data to a computer owned by a corporation such as Google, or Apple, which allows you to access your data anywhere. Anything from documents, pictures, videos, files, or more can be uploaded to these servers. Once this data is uploaded, companies like Google and Apple actually claim ownership of the material… it’s in their terms of service (which nobody EVER fucking bothers to read).

These servers operate much the same that any website does. You create a user account, a password, and tie this information to your email account so that if you lose your password, you can simply have them send it by email, and you can reset it.

Most services require at least 8 characters of letters, numbers, symbols for passwords, however this is considered extremely weak by today’s standards. Really, a 12-character password is even too short for some ’brute force’ password finders.

That all being said, you also have to rely on the expertise of the company that hosts the cloud space you’re using. For Google’s SkyDrive, or Apple’s iCloud, you’re relying on the system they’re running on to be secure.

Account logins and passwords are kept in databases. A database is a file which runs within another software platform – a database server, which needs constant monitoring, security patching, and probing for vulnerability to keep it secure. And the database server runs on an Operating System (OS; something like Windows, Apple, or Linux/Unix). This of course also needs to be secure, monitored and maintained. And of course, operating systems need hardware on which to run on – the physical server. The servers are typically physically secured in facilities with locking ‘cabinets’, 3-fold identification entry (ID badge, code, and handprint verification) to prevent anything physically being stolen. AND behind all that is a person, an admin, who does all of this maintenance, security, and monitoring. They have access to EVERYTHING.

All that being said, there is a lot that can go wrong with using a cloud service. A lot.
Here are some of the main risks that people who do not understand the Internet, or the cloud will encounter, and many times be harmed by:

1) Your password is weak. Using things like ‘Welcome1’ or ‘Password’ (think you’re being cute or smart? Think again). This means anyone who can find out your email address or login ID will be able to simply guess your password, and gain access to ALL of your data. Once your data has been downloaded by someone else, you have lost control of it, and it can instantly spread worldwide.  But even a strong password can’t protect against bad server management or security. You can always get to the server, and directly download your stuff, if you can get access.

2) Once your data is compromised, consider it out of your control. This is evidenced by things such as the Wikileaks/Julian Assange debacle where diplomatic cables were leaked to the entire world, laying bare the diplomatic process and all the subterfuge it employs, and of course the recent celebrity ‘hack’ (Oh, NOW we pay attention… where are our priorities?) where hackers compromised the Apple iCloud server and downloaded personal photos of celebrities. The entire world now has access to these things, in an instant. It’s a lot different than a physical break in to a house or someone stealing your wallet, as the ‘moral crowd’ likes to keep saying when defending clueless users of technology. No, this is more like if everything in your house could be stolen, instantly and infinitely duplicated, and instantly distributed to all 7 billion people on the planet. This is quite a bit different than you just ‘having your wallet stolen’. Metaphors in this case simply don’t work. This is far, far worse than having your wallet stolen. This is like having your entire life made public record. Even your nudie moments. I hope you’re not modest.

3) You don’t actually own your data on the cloud. Say for example, your business relies on a cloud service like ‘Carbonite’ (an online cloud based backup system). First of all, once you upload that data to the cloud service, it becomes their property! They reserve the right to access, read, audit, delete, or transfer your things as they see fit. And if for any reason they go out of business, they are under no obligation to give your data back to you. So in effect, you’ve already given the company permission to view your stuff, and take it if they want. All it takes is a curious or evil admin to go snooping around account folders, and happen onto your dick pics, or shower selfies, and in an instant, that guy could decide to download that picture and distribute it to the internet. Got company secrets? Not anymore. This enables industrial espionage. Google, Apple, Amazon, etc can get a huge leg-up on the competition by reading corporate strategies you uploaded, client lists, etc. And who’s going to rat them out? You think they self-report? Nope. Once you upload to them, you made a huge mistake. Why do you think a lot of these services are FREE? Hmm?

These are just some of the many dangers of using a cloud service, all for the supposed convenience of not having to back up and restore your data yourself. And really, it’s not that hard to make your data available for yourself, without the use of the cloud, and keep it secure.  But you’re probably too lazy to do it. But here’s what I do:

1) At home, I have an external hard drive. It’s encrypted, which means any time it’s plugged into my computer, it asks for an (extremely long and complicated) password. This means that if anyone were to physically steal the hard drive, they could not hope to access the data. Encryption programs are free, and mostly pretty easy to use. Everyone ought to be doing this.

2) I enable remote access to my PC, so I can transfer any file I need, when I need it. Using programs like TeamViewer, or Remote Desktop, I can remotely control my PC, as if I were sitting in front of it. It’s actually not that complicated to do, and these programs work on my smartphone. This allows me to operate my own ‘cloud’, and have 100% control.

3) Disable all cloud services, and resist attempts by companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, or Apple to use them. They WILL pressure you. They will offer you free trials, lay the many benefits of omnipresent music, photos, and videos to you, tell you how easy it is now to switch phones and keep your apps, settings, phonebooks, photos… but you must resist. Syncing even once means that you’ve already made the mistake of giving up all of your private data to a corporation who may or may not abuse, or mishandle it. If you did manage to sync and want to reverse the damage, you have to use a PC/Mac and web browser to log in and delete stuff. It’s backed up though, so don’t think it’s gone. They keep many backups of their servers. Good luck. Even I have made this mistake.
Those are just SOME of the measures you can take to protect yourself. That being said, here comes my so-called ‘douchey’ statement on nude pics.

If you’re going to take nude pics, avoid using digital media. Yes, I know, I’m the douchebag suggesting that if you want something to stay private, use something that cannot instantaneously be sent to every email inbox, TMZ site, or be distributed by shady voyeurs. Yes, I am a complete asshole for suggesting that this is a problem. Except, no, I’m not. The real assholes out there are the people saying ‘It’s not their fault they were hacked’, because they are perpetuating the notion that it is OK for you to remain an ignorant user of technology. IT’S NOT OK. This is a dangerous thought and absolutely wrong. You ABSOLUTELY should become INTIMATELY familiar with the technology in your pocket. Nobody can make you do that but you. And if you’re one of those people who say “Oh, I have no idea why I got an iPhone, I just like the color”, just… stop buying cell phones and stick to land lines… you are in way over your head. If you’re one of those people who say “I don’t understand computers” yet use them all the time… maybe you should take a class and learn what it is you’re dealing with, or ask a guy like me to explain it. I’m happy to help you stay safe.

That being said, if you want to take risque’ photos of yourself, use ANY medium except digital. PLEASE. Use film. Have an artist “…Draw me like one of your French girls”. Heck, use a digital camera that DOESN’T connect to the Internet so that you can store it securely in a locked cabinet. Security starts with YOU. Don’t be so na├»ve as to think you can simply ‘have a moral conversation with the world, and people will stop hacking’. As vile as it is for hackers to invade the personal data of celebrity skanks and man-sluts, this is the reality we live in. The world and all of its computers are connected, and there are very smart, very evil hackers out there who make a living off of stealing your identities, credit card numbers, Amazon accounts, Apple accounts… fuck, even your World of Warcraft account can turn a nice profit. You think telling a hacker ‘you’re a horrible person’ is going to stop them from doing this? Focus the conversation on what we need to be talking about and stop using this ‘I want to say the most moral thing I’ve ever said, so I can impress my friends with how moral I am’ stuff. Get real.

Please calculate your risks. And stop thinking that companies like Google, Apple, Amazon etc. have ‘the best and brightest security professionals’ working for them. They don’t. 14 year old Russian kids would run circles around their co-called IT experts. Shit, I could school them too. Stop thinking these companies have your desire for convenience in mind. They have one thing in mind. MONEY, and the ability to make infinite amounts of it.

Remember when you were freaking out about the NSA warrantless wiretapping, data monitoring, and meta-data collection? Every day, you allow companies to grab that exact same data, profit on it, and abuse it when you use a cloud service, or anything from Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. You are giving THEM more power than the NSA, and the NSA is actually trying to prevent you from getting attacked by enemies. These corporations are just trying to profile you to make more money. And they’re sloppy as hell when it comes to security. Sure, that needs to be addressed, but in the meantime:

Don’t let the technology you use outpace your knowledge of it. Know what’s in your pocket. Know how to keep private stuff OFF the cloud and OFF the Internet. Your small convenience is not worth the MASSIVE inconvenience of being hacked, and having images of your naked body becoming a matter of public record for perverts to leer at and pleasure themselves to.

Look, this is ‘the future’ we were all warned about as kids. Technology run amok, and outpacing our understanding of it. Yes, your pretty cellphone IS awesome, but you have no idea what it’s doing behind your back. It’s like you invited some charming stranger into your life, but that stranger has sinister motives.

Don’t do anything with your cellphone that you can potentially regret later. The Internet does not forget anything…