Twitter Treasure

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Twitter logo transparent

Twitter is a good invention. It’s easy and fun. Much less demanding and intrusive than Facebook. So much so that many millions of people, from the famous to ordinary people like you and I, use it every day.

On the back of that success the Twitter company is doing very well. But recently it did even better when its shares jumped four per cent in a matter of minutes.

It all happened after a buyout story appeared on the internet that claimed that Twitter had received a significant offer. It started off, “Twitter is working closely with bankers after receiving an offer to be bought out for $31 billion…”

fake-twitter-story

Investors piled in. And not just the amateurs, lots of the ‘professional’ Wall Street guys too.

The trouble was, however, that the internet story was on a bogus web site and was completely fake. The site was called “bloomberg.market”. It was not “Bloomberg.com” the official name of the web presence for the Bloomberg financial organization.

“Bloomberg.market” was what they call a ‘mirror’ of the genuine “Bloomberg.com” website. Whoever designed “bloomberg.market” set it up to look like “Bloomberg.com”. They copied real headlines and linked them back to the real dot-com website. With one exception: the fake Twitter story, which was dressed up to look like a legitimate webpage.

The spike in the Twitter share price only lasted about 15 minutes before Bloomberg denounced the story as fake and the share price dropped back to its previous level. But 15 minutes is a long time in the world of finance and plenty of time for someone to profit substantially from the scam.

spike in the Twitter share price

No one yet knows who owns the dot-market domain – except the people who own it, of course –  but it was registered just days before the scam message, using a proxy service called “WhoisGuard”, based in Panama, that protects registrant details by offering its own address and contact numbers. But the details of “WhoisGuard” on its own website at “WhoisGuard.com” also appear to be fake, listing a telephone number that is disconnected. Emails to their contact address have not received a response either.

The significance of this incident is not that some greedy and stupid people lost money rushing to buy Twitter shares on the back of this fake announcement.

The problem is that so many new dot word domains have recently been allowed – hundreds of them in fact – that the whole internet is becoming bloated and confusing. And expensive.

If you are a company that wants to protect your online identity and integrity it could now cost you tens of thousands of dollars to cover all the permutations. Not many companies, even huge affairs like Bloomberg, will choose to do that.

That leaves the way wide open for cyber criminals to take advantage of gullible internet users.

I am certain they will.

Like the Twitter announcement, it’s just too good a deal to refuse.

online-scam_gullible-investor-cartoon

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I’ve Heard Of A Plane Going Missing – But An Entire Airport???

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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lost

Bureaucrats lose things because they are incompetent and stupid.

We all know that.

My posts on the debacle at the US government’s Office of Personnel Management, where they lost over 21 million records of government employees and those who had applied for government jobs, was a good example.

I though at the time I read about this and did my blog posts that this would be a tough one to beat as regards stupidity and incompetence.

I was wrong.

Shannon-airport-building-2008

 

Enter the Irish.

Irish bureaucrats have lost an entire airport.

And it only cost them €27 million  to do it.

A bargain one might think in terms of bureaucratic faux pas.

Up until last week you could find Ireland’s Shannon Airport, in Shannon, County Clare.

Sounds logical enough. If I was looking for Shannon Airport, Shannon is the first place I would look for it. They have had an airport there for over seventy years.

Now, however, after the introduction of Ireland’s new €27 million postcode system, the ‘Eircode’, you can now find Shannon Airport in – wait for it – a different county, County Limerick.

mapofcountiesofireland

If that isn’t funny enough, the system also has a ‘mapping’ option which the bureaucrats say can identify the exact latitude and longitude of 2.2 million individual addresses. They’ll most likely be in the wrong latitude and longitude, but at least you know exactly how wrong the location is.

Naturally there are other problems with the ‘Eircode’ postcode system, ranging from other incorrect addresses to data protection concerns, but the airport one is the star of the show.

In typical bureaucratic fashion, despite the fact that the whole thing is an almighty mess, Communications Minister Alex White defended the new national system.

He even claimed it would make postal deliveries much easier in the long run – the ‘long run’ presumably referring to the distance traveled by your mail going to the wrong delivery address and confused users of the system going to all the wrong places.

Communications Minister Alex White

Not only do the bewildered Irish users of this new system get wrong addresses for their €27 million, but they are only allowed a miserable fifteen searches per day, meaning you would need to persevere with it for more than a week if you were organizing a big event, like a wedding or anniversary do.

There is an option to search for more wrong addresses but the fee for that dubious privilege is between €60 and €180 a year, depending on the number of searches performed.

Good luck with selling that too!

Now where did I put the milk for my coffee?

Ah yes, in the garage next door.

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Do You Really Want A Liar In The White House?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hillary Clinton liar

I ended a post last week that ended with the line, “If you want a liar in the White House there’s always Hillary.”

Some people may have thought it a little harsh, particularly those who were considering voting for her, but harsh or not it is a fact.

Her wayward husband Bill was a liar and he made President and impeachment. Now she is trying to carry on the tradition.

Hillary simply cannot tell the truth.

Everyone knows it.

And everyone includes the representatives from other countries that she would have to interact with, if – God help us – the American people are stupid enough to make her President.

Unfortunately, such is the attention span of people nowadays they only seem to remember the last thing they see and hear. If something happened in the past it is as if it never occurred at all.

2016 US Presidential race

With a position as important as the US Presidency at stake it is surely necessary to examine the candidates more closely than that.

Hillary Clinton’s lies are many and they cover almost every aspect of her life. She is an opportunist, always willing to try to enhance her position by lying. Nothing is sacred.

And it isn’t a recent occurrence. Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a liar for her entire political life, probably longer than that.

Take a look for yourselves.

hillary clinton 09

Going waaaaay back to 1974, when Hillary Clinton was 27, she worked for the House Judiciary Committee which at that time was investigating Richard Nixon and Watergate.

Strictly against House rules, she met with Teddy Kennedy’s chief political strategist and then manipulated the system, wrote a “fraudulent legal brief” and “confiscated public documents”.

They had no choice but fire Hillary Rodham. When asked why she was fired, Jerry Zeifman, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate investigation, said in an interview, “Because she was a liar. She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer, she conspired to violate the Constitution, the Rules of the House, the Rules of the Committee, and the rules of confidentiality.”

Zeifman later wrote in a 2006 book titled ‘Hillary’s Pursuit of Power’, that “Hillary Clinton is ethically unfit to be either a senator or president.”

Hillary Clinton fired from Congressional job for unethical behaviorpng

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When she made it to the White House as First Lady, she was still a stranger to the truth. Trying to distance herself from another gaff, Hillary said she didn’t know that her staff would fire the travel office staff after she told them to do so.

Hillary lied.

Staff do what you tell them to do. That’s why they work for you and not you for them. The memorandum relating to the firings went  “missing” for two years.

Hillary you're fired

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The “missing” lie was a trait that was to continue. Documents regarding Hillary’s work at the Rose Law firm in Arkansas, specifically regarding a savings and loan company run by the Clintons’ business partner in the Whitewater land venture also went “missing” for two years.

Eventually they miraculously reappeared when a White House aide found them, in the White House, in a storage area on the third-floor, which is the private residence of the President and First Lady.

Hillary said that she had no idea the documents were there, which would have been fine except for the fact that the FBI found Hillary’s fingerprints on the documents. Hillary is still the only First Lady in American history to be fingerprinted by the FBI.

fingerprint

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Lying to take advantage of national tragedies is also a depth to which Hillary Clinton will gladly stoop.

For example, when everyone else was in shock and sympathizing with the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack tragedy, Hillary tried to take some of the attention for herself. She said her daughter Chelsea was jogging around the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 at the time of the airplanes flew into the twin towers.

Hillary lied.

Chelsea was in bed watching it on TV.

9-11 attacks wtc

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To try to aggrandize herself on another occasion, Hillary said she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest.

Hillary lied.

Sir Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest five years AFTER Hillary Rodham was born. Nobody knew who he was and therefore wouldn’t have named their children after him.

Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest - the Aukland Star

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When she was on a visit to Bosnia, Hillary said she came under sniper fire as she disembarked at the airport.

Hillary lied.

Video taken at the time shows a girl presented her with flowers and she and Chelsea can be seen on video walking across the Bosnian tarmac smiling and greeting well-wishers. Not a sniper’s bullet in sight. Here’s a nice video report to prove it.

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As regards finances, Hillary said she learned in The Wall Street Journal how to make a killing in the futures market.

Hillary lied.

The Wall Street Journal didn’t even cover the market back then.

stock_market board

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Hillary said she didn’t know about the pardons given to members of the violent Puerto Rico nationalist group FALN or that her brothers were being paid to get pardons that her husband Bill Clinton granted.

Hillary lied.

Her husband and her brothers knew and she didn’t? A likely story! With an ill-advised stroke of a pen President Clinton made a mockery of the pledge to “wage an all-out war against terrorism” by pardoning 14 FALN terrorists.

FALN terrorists logo

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Still on the subject of pardons, Hillary also said she had nothing to do with the New Square Hasidic pardons that reduced the prison terms of four New York Hasidic Jews convicted of defrauding tens of millions of dollars from the government.

Hillary lied.

In fact, of all the pardons that President Clinton granted as he was leaving the White House, this one has Hillary written all over it. She attended a meeting at the White House about the pardons and got repaid in votes, 1,400 to 12.

New Square Hasidic pardons

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To try to excuse her greed, Hillary said taking the White House gifts was a “clerical error”.

Hillary lied.

The “error”, clerical or otherwise, was getting caught and she came up with the best excuse she could think of at the time.

hillary-clinton-winking-AP-640x480

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To try to make herself look more statesmanlike Hillary said she negotiated for the release of refugees in Macedonia.

Hillary lied.

They were released the day before she even got there.

refugees_macedonia

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In a pathetic attempt to get sympathy where none was deserved, Hillary said her family was broke when they left the White House.

Hillary lied.

And they only made a paltry $12 million the year after Bill Clinton’s Presidency.

hillbillary clinton

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Never noted for her humility, Hillary said she was “instrumental” in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Hillary lied.

She and President Bill visited Northern Ireland and did some PR work for the deal that ushered terrorists into government in Belfast, but those actually at the negotiating table say Hillary was nowhere to be seen.

ni peace talks

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Hillary said the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other officials was a “spontaneous protest” gone wrong.

Hillary lied.

Based on State Department documents we know that, not only was Benghazi a terrorist attack, but that Hillary was well aware of that fact and deliberately misled the public.

American-victims-of-Benghazi-terror-attack-9-11-2012

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Then there is the private email server she set up the day before her nomination as Secretary of State, and used for her entire tenure in that office. Hillary said the whole thing was innocent and that access would be given to scrutinize her emails.

Hillary lied.

The whole procedure was far from innocent. For one thing it is in direct violation of a 2009 Federal Law.  Hillary set up her private email server and used it when she was Secretary of State so that there would be no official government records of those emails. She could pick and choose what to release and what to delete. Her aides also used private email addresses. Actualy both the Clintons loved email for that very reason, because it was so much easier to hide stuff, when she was asked to turn over 1.8 million emails to Judicial Watch, Congress, and federal investigators.

hillary clinton email scandal cartoon

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What do you call someone with a record like that except a liar?

How are we supposed to believe that all of a sudden she has had a “road to the White House” conversion and become honest and straightforward, rather than a schemer and a liar?

I’m reminded of that old joke,

Question: “How can you tell when a politician is lying?”

Answer: “When his/her lips are moving.”

It needs to be updated for Hillary.

She can lie even when her lips aren’t moving, or get emails or other people to do it for her.

So do you want a liar in the White House?

Do you???

hillary clinton 3 dollar bill

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She Said She Wouldn’t – But She Did!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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cartoon hacking government websites

I wrote a post on July 3rd posing the question “Are government bureaucrats capable of looking after data they collect about us?” (if you want to read it click here.)

The question was, of course, rhetorical, because we all know that the stupid bureaucrats the government employs aren’t capable of looking after anything.

The figure I quoted in that post, about the number of people whose data had been hacked, was 18 million which was a lot higher than the first government admission that 4.5 million records had been hacked. Now however the figure is well in excess of 21 million. It probably won’t stop there.

opm director Katherine Archuleta

The Office of Personnel Management was responsible for losing the confidential information and there have been calls from both Republicans and Democrats for the chief bureaucrat of the OPM, Ms Katherine Archuleta, to do the decent thing and resign.

But as we also know there is no decency in stupid bureaucrats, only self-delusion and arrogance. They are too dumb to do their jobs and too stupid to realize it.

Thus for as long as she could, Archuleta clung on in there, rejecting bipartisan calls for her to resign. She said she had no plans to step down. Worse than that she said she was “committed to continuing her work for the agency”.

I read that to mean more incompetence, more lies and more denial, and more trying to cling on to a position which she is clearly not fit to hold. For example she pig-headedly refused to shut down servers identified by the US Inspector General as unsafe.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the White House, headed by another incompetent, President Barack Obama, continued to express confidence in the leadership of Ms Archuleta.

However, as the size of the security gaff became greater and greater so did the pressure on chief bureaucrat Archuleta. As the numbers of missing records continued to climb almost daily, the result was inevitable.

Although Archuleta continued to say she had “no intention of resigning and would stay on to sort out the mess” – she handed in her resignation. The President – who supported her and who had complete confidence in her – accepted it immediately.

It was either that or be fired. Everyone knew it but her.

The announcement came along with further emerging details about the pathetic level of security within the OPM. Many of its servers are apparently so antiquated they can’t run encryption and modern security software. Two-factor authentication is almost unheard of and seldom used. In fact things are so bad that the agency isn’t even sure how many computer networks it has!!!

One incompetent bureaucrat down.

Hopefully many more to follow.

opm data loss

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Are Government Bureaucrats Capable Of Looking After Data They Collect About Us?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Office of Personnel Management

If you’ve read any of the political posts on this blog you’ll already know the answer to the question posed in the title.

Staffed by stupid bureaucrats, the government isn’t capable of doing anything right, apart from trying to make all our lives miserable with needless and intrusive rules and regulations.

Proving the point, recently in the press there have been numerous stories about the personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees being the victim of what they call a ‘cyber breach’ at the Office of Personnel Management.

I say 18 million because that is what has currently been estimated by none other than FBI Director James Comey in a closed-door briefing to Senators recently. A far cry from the government’s lies that ‘only’ 4.2 million files were hacked. And that 18 million number is expected to grow, not get smaller – which I suppose makes the government’s lie even bigger.

The same hackers who accessed the Office of Personnel Management’s data are believed to have last year breached an OPM contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions. When that OPM breach was discovered in April, investigators found that KeyPoint security credentials were used to breach the OPM system.

KeyPoint_Logo

Some investigators believe that after that intrusion last year, OPM bureaucrats should have blocked all access from KeyPoint, and that doing so could have prevented more serious damage.

But the bureaucrats refused to do anything – probably waiting for a sub-committee to write a 2,000 page report first!

It is believed that the Chinese government is behind this latest ‘cyber breach’, which is considered the worst ever against the U.S. government – so far, that is. The Chinese hackers are believed to have built their own backdoor access to the OPM system, armed with high-level system administrator access codes.

Naturally since it happened under his watch and the buck stops with him, President Obama has ordered his administration to answer all accusations of incompetence by minimizing the severity of breach.

But the OPM’s internal auditors told a House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee last week that key databases housing sensitive national security data, including applications for background checks, had not met federal security standards.

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., responded thus, “I wish that you [the OPM] were as strenuous and hardworking at keeping information out of the hands of hackers as are at keeping information out of the hands of Congress.”

If only!

So are the government bureaucrats capable of looking after the data they collect on us?

Of course they aren’t.

Looks as if all Snowden, the subject of Wednesday’s post (if you want to read it click here), is really guilty of, is doing the bureaucrat’s job more efficiently.

whistleblower techie

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Traitor Or Patriot?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Snowden Traitor or Patriot

A lot has been written about Edward Snowden, the NSA employee who leaked files of secret documents to the public. Some of the reaction has been in praise of him as a patriot and some of it castigating him as an enemy of the people and a traitor.

So who is right?

I guess that depends on your point of view.

If you think the government did the right thing snooping illegally on its own people and on its allies, then you are probably in the camp that wants to see Snowden shot as a traitor.

If you think Snowden did the right thing to expose the deceit and crimes of government agencies so that the general public became better informed about what was being undertaken in its name, then you are probably in the camp that wants Snowden left alone.

There is no ambiguity in which camp the government resides. It wants to see Snowden repatriated to the US to face numerous charges that would result in him – perhaps not being shot – but certainly spending a long, long time in prison. It’s not about punishing Snowden, it’s about sending a message to other like-minded government employees.

To back up their claim to have Snowden punished, the press is continually being leaked stories of how Snowden put lives at risk because of his revelations.

Sunday Times Snowden smear

For example, take the latest claims leaked to a British newspaper is that Russian and Chinese intelligence analysts have decrypted some of his Snowden’s stolen files and have been able to identify US and British secret agents as a result. Apparently personnel has had to be withdrawn from overseas operations in hostile countries because their identities have been “blown”. It’s an unlikely scenario because the vast majority of ‘spies’ hold diplomatic posts in embassies and as such have the benefit of diplomatic immunity if exposed.

And there have also been counter claims denouncing stories like these as ‘smear tactics’ used by the government without any evidence to support them. The counter claimers also point to the fact that the latest newspaper to carry the government’s leaked story is Rupert Murdock’s ‘Sunday Times’, the very same source that carried the government’s leaked dossier on Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, every single “fact” in which proved to be a lie.

Cynics also point out that this latest anti-Snowden non-story in the British press has been timed precisely to coincide with the British government’s new Snooper’s Charter act, which enables the security services to access all internet activity. Convenient to say the least!

As for Snowden himself, he says that when fled the US he took four copies of a cache of top secret documents lifted from the NSA’s intranet but handed these over to carefully selected journalists and no longer has them in his possession.

Naturally NSA sources dispute this, arguing that when Snowden defected to Russia he took the files with him.

Once again who you believe depends on which camp you are in.

It is possible that Snowden is lying, but it is also possible that he is telling the truth.

If it is the latter it is a reasonable assumption that any leaks of his documents after he left Hong Kong have been the result of the files being hacked or stolen from the journalists he passed them on to.

When you think about it, journalists are not intelligence or computer experts and probably were an easy mark for the hackers. Even the more security conscious ones invariably use encryption programs such as PGP, TruCrypt and Tor, which are all vulnerable to the kind of hacking available to the US and other governments.

For what it’s worth, my money is on the government’s latest leak being more bullshit. When you’ve clearly done something wrong, and want to keep on doing it, it’s always cool to be able to distract the crowd by blaming someone else.

So it’s not my fault.

it's not my fault

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A Right Old Mess!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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political hypocrisy

It seems there is no end to the political hypocrisy that has taken over our well surveilled world.

I wrote a post a few days ago about the Belgian government wanting Skype to hand over confidential customer data. I called it ‘Taking A Swipe At Skype’ (if you want to read it click here )

In a previous post called, ‘What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?’ (if you want to read that one click here) I had a bit of rant against the hypocrisy of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel who professed great anxiety publicly about the Americans snooping in on her phone calls while she and her intelligence agencies were in cahoots with the US to spy on other European countries.

Now a week or so later the two stories have merged with yet another piece of hypocrisy, this time by the Belgians who have announced that they are starting an official investigation into allegations that Belgium’s telecommunications networks were spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies.

telecommunications network

In other words, it is okay for the Belgians to snoop on Skype users, but not okay when someone else wants to snoop on the Belgians.

If that’s not another good example of hypocrisy I don’t know what is.

Specifically the targets in Belgian sights are the United States National Security Agency and Germany’s Bundesnach-richtendienst (BND) and an operation that they referred to as ‘EIKONAL’.

The Belgians found out about the snooping when Austrian politician Peter Pilz blew his whistle at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, saying that EIKONAL had targeted European telecommunications carriers for at least four years, from 2005 to 2008.

Spokesmen for the Belgian government have said that if the alleged espionage is confirmed, it would have “not only legal implications, but will also affect relations between Belgium, Germany and the US”. It also threatened to “take appropriate action” but didn’t specify what that would be – they probably don’t know yet.

Switzerland and the Netherlands flags

Needless to say, the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands were not amused by the revelations either and immediately launched their own investigations into this thing called ‘EIKONAL’.

It’s all turning into what they call “a right old mess”.

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