Posts tagged ‘clinton’

The Scourge of Pre-News

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It’s been nearly 2 decades since I first noticed a phenomenon I came to call Pre-News.  It was the day before Bill Clinton was to be impeached.  I was weary from the many dramas of the scandals leading to the impeachment and eager to see it finished.  So I was tuned in to a 24/7 news channel to be ready.  At that time, there were 2 such channels available to me: CNN and CNN Headline News.  I was on the Headline News channels and watched, repeated every 30 minutes, as Lynn Russell introduced the report.

So this is what CNN wanted us to know the day before impeachment:

As soon as the vote is done, congressional democrats will form up and march out of the House.  They will exit the capitol and march down the street to <somewhere, I don’t remember, maybe Al Gore’s home?>.  There they will meet with other democrats to show solidarity for President Clinton.

There was no detail on the vote, except on assumption it would pass.  What CNN wanted everyone to know was the top-down importance of protesting the impeachment…because all right-thinking people opposed the impeachment, don’t ya know.

Pre-News started innocently enough, I expect.  From media outlets racing to get a scoop, to live reports, to let’s get that scoop by reporting before it happens, just a bit.

But in the example I gave, they were up to a 24 hour lead time on news, and the trend has continued.

The thing about Pre-News is that, since it hasn’t happened, you can tell the story however you want.  You can put in your slant and bias with little or no complaint because there’s no counter-story yet—there can’t be, there isn’t a story yet.

In our recent election, citizen reporters used social media to bypass the mainstream media lock on information.  The MSM is very unhappy about this and has begun branding this new competition as Fake News.  Social media giants, being deeply embedded with democrats, are looking at censoring things deemed Fake News.  But which news is really fake?

The MSM fed us endless polls guaranteeing a Clinton win.  Frank Luntz even tweeted in the first hour of returns that from that moment on, Trump would never be closer to Hillary in Electoral Votes than he was at that moment.  In the coming days, he ate crow, more gracefully than most in the MSM.

His news, like all the MSM reports on expected election results, was Pre-News and so by definition was also Fake News.  The MSM is going to try to defend themselves by attacking alternative news sources.  They’ve settled on the Fake News attack and will, I expect,  use that until either it works or they get laughed off-stage.

As always, Laughter is the best medicine

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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….

Why Trump SHOULD NOT ATTACK Clinton Every Day From Now Until November

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It’s mid-August and there’s panic in the air.  Hillary has a ridiculous political war chest and is spraying ads across Olympics coverage as well as many other television and radio shows.  People frantic for her to lose are stunned that Trump hasn’t collected more money and begun ads to respond.

Trump has shown himself a master of quick-response twitter ripostes.  He picks a moment when he feels a nudge is due, and lets fly with something like a takedown of Hillary’s “I’m With Her” slogan.  Within hours of that attack she debuted a new slogan, “She’s With Us.”  His attacks are simple, effective, and free.

The danger for Trump is in launching such attacks too often.  Remember that Hillary takes Olympic gold in jumping into the victim role.  She first unveiled this skill when Bill’s infidelities came out during his first term as President.  She sat with friendly interviewers and claimed the attacks were all untrue, part of “a vast right-wing conspiracy.”  There was no evidence, but die-hard Democrats didn’t care, they just wanted an excuse for it to be okay to continue supporting Bill.  This defense was so effective that to this day a significant portion of the Democrat base will dismiss out of hand anything said against the Clintons.  Unfortunately, most of the media outlets covering presidential politics also fall into this group.

Another medal-winning victim role event came during her run for Senate in 2000.  Her opponent was Rick Lazio, a man of superior skill but with no hope of competing against the friendly media machine at Hillary’s beck and call.  He tried an unusual maneuver, he offered to her that they pledge  to run an attack-free campaign.  He needed this offer to be public, so he laid it out during their debate.  He pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and offered it to her to sign.  Now, of course she would never sign it.  But not signing it made her look bad.  So her story coming out of there was that Lazio, as an insensitive macho man, had invaded her personal space and intimidated her.  Have you seen Rick Lazio?  Macho and intimidating he is not.  But Hillary’s protectors ran with the meme and discredited him. It’s always like this.  A short period when Hillary is knocked back on her heels followed by a deflective manuever from herself or a protector posing her as the victim of an unfair, completely misconstrued, personal attack.  If you’re lucky, there’s a day or two in between.

There are about 90 days until election day.  Imagine this attack and defense cycle repeating every 2 days!  There’s certainly enough material to launch a different attack 45 times, but by the end, the electorate will be numbed by the negativity.

Trump needs to inflame distrust of Hillary without the turnout-reduction that usually follows negative attacks.  He will do better to lunch a handful of multi-pronged attacks on Hillary spaced out over the 90 day window.  The attacks need to embroil her media accomplices and embarrass them into covering some of the real content of each attack. If he does it well, and he is certainly capable, each attack will peel away a few percent of her voters and shift another few percent into a nervous uncertainty, making them the group to peel away in the next attack.

I know: Trump isn’t going to do what any of us are eagerly telling him to do.  He’s going to do it his way.  And if the primaries are any indication, his way is very effective.