Archive for October, 2016

Advertisers of Biased News

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Here is a list of national news shows and their advertisers.  This list will be completed and then updated as needed.  Please alert me if there are changes I have not captured

ABC

World News Tonight
pending

20/20
pending

This Week
pending

Good Morning America
pending

CBS

CBS Evening News
Viberzi (Allergen)
Prudential
Poligrip
Boost (Nestle)
Xeljanz (Pfizer)
Edward Jones
Ford
Mirafiber (Miralax)
Consumer Cellular
Trulicity (Lilly)
Voya

60 Minutes
pending

48 Hours
pending

Face The Nation
pending

This Morning
pending

NBC

NBC Nightly News
Eliquis (Pfizer)
Prevagen (Quincy Bioscience)
Geico
Capital One
Advil
Farmers Insurance
Zostavax (Merck)
Amazon
Progressive
Sunsweet Prune Juice
Edward Jones
Xeljanz (Pfizer)

Meet The Press
pending

Dateline
pending

Today
pending

 

Advertisements

An Ongoing Denial of Service Attack

 

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Late last night, the media came out with reports of 4 women who allege that Donald Trump touched them in some sexual way.

12 hours later, people looking into it (not actual reporters), have found that:

Some of the claims match text from previous recorded sexual harassment or assault claims, as though borrowing verbiage to make them credible
One of the claims uses lyrics from a Velvet Underground song
One of the accusers is a Secretary employed by one of the Clinton’s organizations
The claims themselves defy logic—4 victims of a billionaire keep quiet for a decade or 3, skipping out on possible paydays from lawsuits, but then all come forward on the exact same day less than a month before the election

It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative and the clock is ticking on an effort to establish or discredit these claims before election day.  I’ll wager now that if they are all discredited before election day, more women will show up.  I will also wager that comments about the opening of the new Smithsonian Museum focusing on African Americans, which features Anita Hill and ignores Clarence Thomas, was some sort of reassurance to these women as they prepared to make their allegations.

But, it’s a week or two early for a proper October surprise.  Why now?  Well, there’ve been at least 6 different drops of email leaks related to the Clinton campaign in the last few days.  I have not scoured the leaked emails, but it certainly seems to include a number of ethical, and maybe criminal, lapses.

How to stop that getting reported?  With a Denial of Service (DoS) attack.

If you already know what a DoS attack is, skip ahead to the next one-line paragraph.

A DoS is an internet attack on a particular site, for example a web server.  Could be a big server like Microsoft or Google, or a small server like a local pizza restaurant.  The smaller the server, the easier the DoS attack.  Now, every time anyone visits that server, asking for a particular web page, the server notices the request, reads the request, finds the referenced web page, then starts sending it back to the originator of the request.  The process that does this is called a daemon.  It sits on the server waiting for requests.  Usually  many such daemons are waiting there, like taxis at the airport.  Each request is grabbed by a daemon and the next daemon steps forward ready for the next one.

While there is no theoretical maximum number of daemons, there are practical maximums to the number of file requests that can be examined at a time, and the amount of data entering and exiting the server.  So, if enough requests hit a server at the same time, the server will be momentarily too busy to respond to all the requests.  If the high number of requests continues, this becomes a problem.

When the high number of requests is intentional and orchestrated, this is an attack, specifically a Denial of Service attack—so named because a regular user of the web site, trying to reach it during the attack, will be unable to.  The web site is still up.  The attacker may be on a different continent.  But he or she has effectively shut down the server.

If you skipped the DoS description, re-join the discussion here.

The owner of the attacked server has tools to combat a DoS attack, but they take some technical skills and, of course, the owner has to want to.  Well, what owner of an internet server would not want to combat a DoS attack aimed at them?

Before I continue, let me recount a joke from the old British TV show Dave Allen At Large:

A Cardinal rushes up to the Pope and announces that Jesus has just entered Saint Peter’s Square, riding on a donkey.  “What should we do?” he finishes.
The Pope calmly replies, “Look busy”.

So far, over 6000 emails from Hillary crony John Podesta have leaked.  They are news.  But they are getting almost no air-time because the claims against Trump are all that’s being covered (in fact, some at MSNBC and other outlets have come on-air and said, ‘Nothing major in the emails, back to the Trump story.’)  This is, in essence, a Denial of Service attack on the media

As with the owner of the attacked web server, the media has the perfect tool to counteract this DoS attack.  It could simply give equal time to both stories.  But of course, they do not.  They have a story they can grind on to ‘Look Busy’ while burying the stories coming out of the emails.

Is it alarmist to suggest the media is complicit in this?  Well, the leaked emails are showing endless forms of complicity between the Clinton campaign and most every major media outlet there is.  And it’s naming names.  You might think CNN would welcome a chance to cut down its competition a little.  But they are just as vulnerable to the criticism.  So each organization ends up covering for all the others as it covers for itself.

One more thought on the DoS aspect of this.  We usually refer to the server-owner as the victim of a DoS, because their business is being attacked.  The attack takes the form of refusing service to existing or potential customers.  So in another sense, the victim is the customer.

And so it is in the DoS attack with the complicity of the attacked entities.  They still have their business.  They’re selling advertising and people are watching.   They can say they’re just doing their job.

But the customers, the news consumer, is being attacked.  They are being denied the full story of what’s going on.  Most of them don’t even know it, which is how the media wants it (there’s even an email among the leaked group saying precisely that!).

There used to be a time when an oppositional news media challenged and confronted all government agencies, effectively acting as an extra set of checks and balances, in addition to the three branches of Government overseeing each other.  That paradigm is dead—at least so long as the people leading the government share the values of the people managing the media.

To Be Continued….

The most important politician in the country

 

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A polling station at sunrise in Phoenix as voting begins in Arizona’s presidential primary election.

We are about to elect a new President, and tensions are high because the stakes are huge.  The next President will make (or prevent) some stunning changes to our country.  But there is a politician more important than the President.  Who is it?

Boss Tweed is quoted as saying “I don’t care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating.”

This year we’ve seen in leaks of DNC emails that the DNC colluded to tip the primary scales in favor of Hillary and against Bernie Sanders.  This is, if anything, the opposite of the Boss Tweed quote—controlling the process of who gets nominated.

But do they control the electing?  No.  And Yes.  Let me tell you a story.

Several years back I had a friend who was a city councillor.  She decided to run for mayor and I did some door-to-door canvassing for her.  Her campaign provided me with all of the fliers she wanted distributed, and they gave me, for every neighborhood I visited, a list of all registered voters.

This list was a huge benefit.  Before approaching a house you could know the people’s names and party affiliation, which was usually enough to start a conversation well.

But the list was interesting.  For most houses there was more than a normal number of people registered.  If the people I talked to were a Mr and/or Mrs Smith, there might be 4 to 6 Smiths registered, with children who register before going off to college, and so on.

Then there’d be more names, from perhaps previous owners, again 4 to 6 of them.  Making 10 or more voters registered at every single address.

Now, think about the actual voting process.  In this town, there’s a list of registered voters outside the polling place so you can find your name and know you’re in the right place.  Then you go in, give your name, the poll workers find you on the same list.  They mark off your name, and you vote.

At the end of the voting day, maybe 10% of the names are filled in, even if turnout was maximized.

Got all that:

Campaigns have list of registered voters

Campaigns know which names are current and, therefore, which are reliably out-dated.

Someone wanting to vote under a false name can confirm the name before entering the polling place

The poll workers, at the time, were not allowed to ask for ID.

Who would do such a thing?  <cough> <sputter>  Gosh, is there a particular party that works against voter ID laws at every turn

So, back to the topic.  Who is the most important politician in the country?  It is your local registrar, who decides what names are on the voting rolls.  What new people are added (remember ACORN adding multiple fake registrations to make a quota?).  What new people are rejected.  What old names are purged.

Every time someone talks about stuff like this we are assured that voting is secure and don’t worry.  Yet in the past 4 days we’ve heard that one immigrant killer had voted in last 3 federal elections, and also that 1000s of fake registrations have been found for immigrants in Virginia.

Election fraud is easy, for those willing to do it.

The county registrar is the first line of defense against election fraud and many of them have no interest in taking the steps to do so, possibly because they support a party that benefits regularly from fraud.

Periodic purges are an important first step.

Voter ID is a necessary step.

Purging all non-voting people might be a thought.

Frankly, I’ve been wondering about a process where registering, even on election day, is ridiculously easy, but the voter rolls are entirely purged after every single election.

While you’re busy voting this Nov 8, supporting (or opposing) a particular Presidential candidate.  Look down the ballot a ways and pay some attention to the registrar.

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