Article 43


Sunday, October 07, 2018

Lost All Hope

image: lost all hope

Just because a person attempts suicide doesn’t mean they want to die. Rather, often they have lost what I call the “power of hope.” When faced with a BAD SITUATION that has NO END IN SIGHT, coupled with the helpless feeling that NOTHING YOU CAN DO will make a difference, it’s all too easy to LOSE HOPE. AT SOME POINT suicide for some becomes a viable option, rather than CONTINUNG TO FACE the constant pain and suffering that life has become. If you can give someone who is contemplating suicide merely the glimmer of hope, that is often enough to get them through the rough patch to consider other options.
- White, Middle-Age Suicide In America Skyrocket

[P]eople who went through “post-traumatic growth” after life-events such as serious illness, divorce or the loss of a job, as well as near-death experiences. Initially, most of them experienced a DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL, where their previous values were thrown into question, and life ceased to have any meaning. After this, they went through a phase of spiritual searching, trying to make sense of what had happened to them, and find new values. And finally, once they had found new spiritual principles to live by, they entered a phase of “spiritual integration,” when they applied these new principles.
- Psychological Healing

“I doubt whether such suffering improves a man; but I know that it makes him deeper.”
- Nietszche

Somewhere today, perhaps while you were reading this, someone has taken their life because they felt useless, with no hope of gainful employment, their self-esteem ground down, the sense of meaning and connection severed by redundancy and societal disconnection.
- Unemployment is Killing People


While the U.S. Department Of Labor PROPAGANDIZES a healthy economy:

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta today issued the following statement regarding the September 2018 Employment Situation report: “In September, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, the lowest since 1969.

... another THANKSGIVING is around the corner, and another job is gone for me.  The company let go of a bunch of Americans while keeping everyone OVERSEAS.  There wasn’t a peep on the local news.

What else is NEW?

Like I explained HERE, the economic recovery they talk about today is as HOLLOW as the JOBLESS RECOVERY president Obama talked about five years ago:

Economic recovery is now treated as consistent with declining standards of living. Lowered expectations and acquiescence in long term working-class hardship are now built into what we are told to regard as recovery.

The only thing I can say good about loosing my crappy CALL CENTER job is - it’s a job, not a career - so it’s less of a big deal than loosing a well-paid position.

But the JOB HUNT is JUST AS BAD as it was when I started this site IN 2004.


A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons sometimes called the “real unemployment rate” - edged higher to 7.5 percent.

Those counted as not in the labor force did increase by 74,000, bringing that number to nearly 96.4 million.

image: not in labor force 9/2018

I live paycheck to paycheck. The nest egg is gone, and fear of GROWING OLD alone, penniless and HOMELESS - haunts me every minute of every day.

FEELINGS OF STRESS, failure, isolation and paralyzing fear kept surfacing in our analyses with alarming regularity. With severe stress, comes further debilitating self-destructive ways of thinking including avoidance, denial and isolation. As the ability to manage stress spirals, it inevitably moves toward physical dysfunction and chronic disease.

I’ve THOUGHT about - and WRITTEN about - SUICIDE so many times, that it’s HARD TO DECIDE if I’m a whiner like teenagers that slit their wrists for attention, or deserve a medal for fighting the urge to kill myself year after year.


I’m a coward.

When my mother fell to her knees crying SIX YEARS AGO after I told her I can’t afford a plane ticket to visit her anymore - I went in the garage, hooked up a hose to the car’s tailpipe, sat in the front seat with it, turned on the engine, shut it off a few seconds later, and chickened out.

I WISH I had the strength to PULL IT OFF and end the suffering right there and then. 

SUICIDES ASSOCIATED WITH UNEMPLOYMENT totalled a nine-fold higher number of deaths than excess suicides attributed to the most recent economic crisis.

I still can’t afford to visit mom, and live with the feelings of ultimate looser, coward, rotten son, and weak, INSECURE MAN:

Nowadays, being a white male is the single biggest risk factor [for suicide]. Why is that? According to Case and Deaton, drastic changes in the labor market is the most significant factor. Meyer claims another driver.  “Hegemonic masculinity,” or a perception that heightened masculinity must be portrayed at all times, a goal that no male can live up to. Sooner or later everyone needs to be vulnerable and let their emotions out. This inability to fit into such a rigid framework causes psychological pain in the form of guilt, shame, disgust, and self-hatred. This builds to the point where the person can no longer take it.

The years long suffering COMES from LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT/UNDEREMPLOYMENT and resulting financial ruin that led to all sorts of things from loss of self-esteem and friends, to selling my possessions, to frightening dreams of living in the street preyed on like a wounded, bleeding animal.

ASK SOMEONE - a relative, friend or neighbor - who is unemployed at this age, you hear the same things. Endless applications, unreturned calls, useless job searches, financial losses, anger, guilt and fear. Being jobless can be a soul-killing experience. For many, the work we do is an important part of our identity and a source of dignity.

Besides giving up on myself - everyone else gave up on me.

THE JOURNEY has been a solitary, lonely event.  A few have offered to walk down THIS PATH with me for a little while, but then DISAPPEAR.  That’s a real killer.  One friend who I met at Sprint while we were both WORKING AS CONTRACTORS still takes me out to dinner twice a month.

There’s no guardian angel, no best friend, no wife and kids, no JESUS, and no Buddhist mantra - to SHARE - or help lift - the pain.

Nobody’s around to hand me a tissue to wipe away the tears, or even notice I’m crying.

The thought of being homeless is as frightening as going to jail. I’m not strong enough for either, but spend weekends sleeping on the floor trying to prepare for a future without a bed:

ONE IN TEN CITIES nationwide has a law prohibiting residents from giving homeless people food, 53% of American cities prohibit sitting or lying down in certain public places and 43% of cities prohibit someone from sleeping in their car.

Unless the economy changes, or a pot of gold falls on my head, I’m pretty sure I’ll die by my own hand.  Maybe not today or tomorrow, but I’ll break.  There’s only so much agony any one person can take.  How long it will take for someone to even notice I’m gone?  Days? Weeks?  Knowing nobody cares eases my conscience, but also means nobody will try to stop me.

We all need one good friend. Someone you know will be there for you no matter what. Someone you know will never hurt you. Someone you feel the same for.  If you have one good friend - a friend that doesn’t draw lines - a friend that loves and supports you through terrible times - coping is MUCH MORE EASIER:

“I surrounded myself with people who helped me keep it together, so to speak, when I started to lose hope,” she said. I have one friend, in particular, who I leaned on quite heavily. Without her, and the counseling, I’m not sure how I would have survived. My family was a great help also. My dad, especially.

LAST MONTH when I poured my guts out to my only relative (other than my elderly mom) :

[he] brushed me off. The same cousin who I grew up with, is tired of listening to my venting, and tired of giving me pep talks when I talk about how depressing the experience of hunting for a job year after year is, and HOW FRIGHTENED OF THE FUTURE I am. Polls show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than dying.

IF YOU’RE FACED WITH A TRAGEDY and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility for it will fix it, you have every right to remove them from your life.

In our society today, there’s only two types of of people - strong and weak.

LOVE AND COMPASSION are for the weak.


image: help me

Posted by Elvis on 10/07/18 •
Section Personal
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True Evil Redux


“What is the chief end of man?--to get rich. In what way?--dishonestly if we can; honestly if we must.”
- Mark Twain, 1871

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke

Studies involving money games show that upper-class subjects keep more for themselves, and U.S. surveys find that the rich give a smaller percentage of their income to charity than do the poor.
- Rich And Spoiled, Science Magazine, February, 2012

Did you see the Brett Kavanaugh SPECTACLE last week?

Can you believe he’s now a SUPREME COURT JUDGE?

Umair over at Eudamonia NAILED IT:

He flipped, in this strange, polarized, binary way, between extreme narcissistic rage - shouting, red-faced, about his many accomplishments, thundering how he’d been first in his class, and so on - and just as extreme unctuous self-pity, in great broken sobs “how can they have done this to me?”

Violence is the only language such men really understand

What was it that we saw Senators - at least the male conservative ones, who are part of these structures - doing in response to Kavanaugh’s classic pattern of borderline narcissistic flipping between extreme rage and extreme self-pity? A little pecking order of violence was being established, wasn’t it? In that very room, you saw the enactment and creation of the very social structure were talking about - the threat of violence, dominance, creating a little hierarchy. Senators at the bottom, Kavanaugh at the top. Through a kind of ritualistic gang violence - which was a double abuse, because it was conducted upon a woman who had already been assaulted - the group bonded, formed a tribe, and sorted itself into strongest and weakest, top, middle, and bottom, with the most vicious and threatening man at the top.

Why do American men of this kind, or men in these systems more generally, prey on people, so constantly, perpetually, relentlessly?

Good question.

The Kavanaugh appointment may be one small expression, but shines a light on the bigger picture of a society run by the PUREST OF EVIL:

Malignant narcissists are the personification of human evil. Well-known psychologist and author, Erich Fromm, coined the phrase “malignant narcissism” back in 1964 and characterized it as the “quintessence of evil.”


have no boundaries, no sense of shame, no limits to what they are willing to do to get what they want.

Next time you see politicians or corporate CEOs conduct themselves, watch how they act and RECOGNIZE the patterns.







Posted by Elvis on 10/07/18 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Spiritual Diversions
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Analog Malicious Hardware

image: computer chip

This Demonically Clever Backdoor Hides In a Tiny Slice of a Computer Chip

By Andy Greenberg
June 1, 2016

Security flaws in software can be tough to find. Purposefully planted oneshidden backdoors created by spies or saboteursחare often even stealthier. Now imagine a backdoor planted not in an application, or deep in an operating system, but even deeper, in the hardware of the processor that runs a computer. And now imagine that silicon backdoor is invisible not only to the computers software, but even to the chip’s designer, who has no idea that it was added by the chips manufacturer, likely in some farflung Chinese factory. And that it’s a single component hidden among hundreds of millions or billions. And that each one of those components is less than a thousandth of the width of a human hair.

In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan haven’t just imagined that computer security nightmare; they’ve built and proved it works. In a study that won the “best paper” award at last weeks IEEE Symposium on Privacy and Security, they detailed the creation of an insidious, microscopic hardware backdoor proof-of-concept. And they showed that by running a series of seemingly innocuous commands on their minutely sabotaged processor, a hacker could reliably trigger a feature of the chip that gives them full access to the operating system. Most disturbingly, they write, that microscopic hardware backdoor wouldn’t be caught by practically any modern method of hardware security analysis, and could be planted by a single employee of a chip factory.

“Detecting this with current techniques would be very, very challenging if not impossible,” says Todd Austin, one of the computer science professors at the University of Michigan who led the research. “It’s a needle in a mountain-sized haystack.” Or as Google engineer Yonatan Zunger wrote after reading the paper: “This is the most demonically clever computer security attack I’ve seen in years.”

Analog Attack

The “demonically clever” feature of the Michigan researchers’ backdoor isn’t just its size, or that it’s hidden in hardware rather than software. It’s that it violates the security industry’s most basic assumptions about a chip’s digital functions and how they might be sabotaged. Instead of a mere change to the “digital” properties of a chip - a tweak to the chip’s logical computing functions - the researchers describe their backdoor as an “analog” one: a physical hack that takes advantage of how the actual electricity flowing through the chip’s transistors can be hijacked to trigger an unexpected outcome. Hence the backdoor’s name: A2, which stands for both Ann Arbor, the city where the University of Michigan is based, and “Analog Attack.”

Here’s how that analog hack works: After the chip is fully designed and ready to be fabricated, a saboteur adds a single component to its “mask,” the blueprint that governs its layout. That single component or “cell” 0 of which there are hundreds of millions or even billions on a modern chip - is made out of the same basic building blocks as the rest of the processor: wires and transistors that act as the on-or-off switches that govern the chip’s logical functions. But this cell is secretly designed to act as a capacitor, a component that temporarily stores electric charge.

Every time a malicious program - say, a scripton a website you visit - runs a certain, obscure command, that capacitor cell “steals” a tiny amount of electric charge and stores it in the cell’s wires without otherwise affecting the chip’s functions. With every repetition of that command, the capacitor gains a little more charge. Only after the “trigger” command is sent many thousands of times does that charge hit a threshold where the cell switches on a logical function in the processor to give a malicious program the full operating system access it wasn’t intended to have. “It takes an attacker doing these strange, infrequent events in high frequency for a duration of time,” says Austin. “And then finally the system shifts into a privileged state that lets the attacker do whatever they want.”

That capacitor-based trigger design means it’s nearly impossible for anyone testing the chip’s security to stumble on the long, obscure series of commands to “open” the backdoor. And over time, the capacitor also leaks out its charge again, closing the backdoor so that it’s even harder for any auditor to find the vulnerability.

New Rules

Processor-level backdoors have been proposed before. But by building a backdoor that exploits the unintended physical properties of a chip’s componentsחtheir ability to “accidentally” accumulate and leak small amounts of chargerather than their intended logical function, the researchers say their backdoor component can be a thousandth the size of previous attempts. And it would be far harder to detect with existing techniques like visual analysis of a chip or measuring its power use to spot anomalies. “We take advantage of these rules ‘outside of the Matrix’ to perform a trick that would [otherwise] be very expensive and obvious,” says Matthew Hicks, another of the University of Michigan researchers. “By following that different set of rules, we implement a much more stealthy attack.”

The Michigan researchers went so far as to build their A2 backdoor into a simple open-source OR1200 processor to test out their attack. Since the backdoor mechanism depends on the physical characteristics of the chip’s wiring, they even tried their “trigger” sequence after heating or cooling the chip to a range of temperatures, from negative 13 degrees to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and found that it still worked in every case.

As dangerous as their invention sounds for the future of computer security, the Michigan researchers insist that their intention is to prevent such undetectable hardware backdoors, not to enable them. They say it’s very possible, in fact, that governments around the world may have already thought of their analog attack method. “By publishing this paper we can say it’s a real, imminent threat,” says Hicks. “Now we need to find a defense.”

But given that current defenses against detecting processor-level backdoors wouldn’t spot their A2 attack, they argue that a new method is required: Specifically, they say that modern chips need to have a trusted component that constantly checks that programs haven’t been granted inappropriate operating-system-level privileges. Ensuring the security of that component, perhaps by building it in secure facilities or making sure the design isn’t tampered with before fabrication, would be far easier than ensuring the same level of trust for the entire chip.

They admit that implementing their fix could take time and money. But without it, their proof-of-concept is intended to show how deeply and undetectably a computer’s security could be corrupted before it’s ever sold. “I want this paper to start a dialogue between designers and fabricators about how we establish trust in our manufactured hardware,” says Austin. “We need to establish trust in our manufacturing, or something very bad will happen.”

Here’s the Michigan researchers’ FULL PAPER - [ LOCAL COPY .pdf ]


Posted by Elvis on 10/07/18 •
Section Privacy And Rights
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