Gore positions himself as a "Power Broker"

Like most messianic leaders of a movement, I have always wondered if Al Gore was “certifiable” …

What happens to a man who has been groomed his entire life to assume the Presidency of the United States and loses the prize by the narrowest of margins due to a confluence of events beyond his immediate control? Can a man who has scaled the pinnacle of presidential politics simply retire or retreat into the background while life moves on?

In Gore’s case, it seems that he was privileged to be at the right point in time and space to capitalize on the “climate” issue. An issue which provides him with continuing ego-stroking accolades and the power and money to be the acknowledged leader of a worldwide movement. Free of the political constraints of having to respond to his critics or account for his funds, it seems Al Gore has done well for himself by finding his own personal nirvana.

Generating a different kind of power …

In a sense, Al Gore is his own self-interest. Free of the constraints which require the disclosure of his business dealings, especially those which are constituted as offshore entities. Al Gore can profit from his pronouncements and earn money from his speeches, writings and by hooking into the hedge fund capital scene to raise money for investments in things that he promotes. Not that there is anything wrong with this other than the possibility that it is based on “junk science” or that government subsidies for certain investments may not be forthcoming in the future.

From Wikipedia

Gore is currently the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, cofounder and chairman of the Emmy Award - winning American television channel Current TV … He is also a partner in the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, heading that firm's climate change solutions group.”

“Generation Investment Management LLP is a London-based investment management firm with an investment style that blends traditional equity research with a focus on sustainability factors, including social and environmental responsibility and corporate governance.”

“Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Generation, and David Blood — previously chief executive of Goldman Sachs Asset Management — is CEO. The pair has given the company its nickname, ‘Blood and Gore.’”

“In November 2007, Generation and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers announced a global collaboration to "find, fund and accelerate green business, technology and policy solutions with the greatest potential to help solve the current climate crisis." As part of the collaboration, prominent KPCB Partner John Doerr joined Generation's Advisory Board.”

“Generation Investment Management LLP is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority in the UK.”

You would think that any organization headed by an American and run by Americans would be headquartered in the United States and subject to control by the Securities Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and other such consumer protection agencies?

The “rain making” publicity machine …

Gore’s primary task is to keep the climate story on the front page and opening the door to new business contacts for his partners to exploit. So we often see outrageous headlines that are crafted more for their ability to attract media attention than the truth they assert.

From Politico.com … 

Gore compares offshore drilling to invasion of Iraq

“In a surprise appearance at Netroots Nation — which apparently was the worst-kept secret in Austin, Texas — former Vice President Al Gore followed up a speech by Nancy Pelosi by laying out a narrative on climate change and the energy crisis that seems ready-made for the Obama campaign to download.”

“If you look at the seriousness of the climate crisis, you see how it ties to the economic crisis and the national security threat that we face,” he said. “200 billion dollars are being sent overseas just from oil.”

It is amazing that the far-left ties a phony climate crisis where time frames are measured in hundreds and thousands of years to present day military and economic threat issues. Especially since this far-left crowd is historically about weakening the United States militarily and economically.

“’The idea that we can drill our way out of this is just so absurd,’ he said, comparing the push for offshore oil drilling — which has gained popularity and put environmentalists on the defense — to dealing with a hangover by having another drink.”

A cute word-picture which is entirely inaccurate. Perhaps a more accurate picture would be dealing with the thirst of a nation by further closing the water tap and charging more for the drink. And, of course, all the while demanding that people drink costly “alternative” water bottled at a huge profit by the legislator’s friends.

“The defenders of the status quo are the ones who have dug us into this hole,” he said, commenting that Americans have been “so often fooled into finding a remedy for a problem" that has nothing to do with the problem at hand — pointing to the invasion of Iraq when America was attacked by terrorists in Afghanistan as an example.

Notice the subtle switch of subject: from environmental concerns to military commentary.

Does Gore really believe that the American people are so stupid as not to realize that it was his democrat party, himself included, that have been the traditional the defenders of the status quo? 

That the democrat who supported NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Nor Anytime) policies that created this crisis are are uniquely complicit in today’s war on terror?

Democrats who refused to expand the exploitation of our own energy reserves and which pushed us into supporting Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries on their terms. Enriching them with our money so they could support IslamoFascism.  Making it virtually impossible to attack the real source of terror in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria?

Does Gore believe that, given the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, the anti-nuclear stance of the democrats which precluded the use of relatively clean and economically viable energy generation in favor of heavily subsidized unreliable energy sources, was in the best interests of America?

On this subject, Gore is like most politicians: full of crap and in full denial of historical records.

“’The engines of distraction and the great concentrated power of communication that you’ve seen turned on this issue or that issue is already hard at work,’ he says. "’They will say we can’t switch away from oil.’"

Again, with the misdirection. Most of today’s media is biased towards the liberal left and spends much of its time bashing the Bush Administration and ignoring any good news that would enlighten and embolden ordinary American citizens. And if they say anything about energy,  it is mostly about the perils of drilling and pumping oil and the problem with nuclear waste. And anything else that would keep American from becoming energy independent.

“’We have to switch our electricity generation system,” he says, noting that changing transportation fuels will take longer, before reiterating his plan to ensure that “100 percent of our electricity [comes] from renewable sources and carbon-constrained fuels over the next 10 years.”

We need to build a better fault-tolerant electrical grid. We need to reduce pollution. We need to develop a scientific basis linking carbon dioxide to anything before we simply decide to chuck carbon-source energy in the dustbin and confer a great advantage on our enemies who are less suicidal than the democrats.

"It is not partisan, it is focused on this single objective," he says. "we are trying to mobilize ten million grassroots activists.”

With Gore, it is about being post-partisan and attracting the largest possible audience for his ideas. But has anybody noticed that the “Netroots Nation” is simply the new name of the annual YearlyKos convention. A rabid far-left political blogging organization which often spews hate and filth at those who disagree with its far-left anti-America agenda?

In response to a question about whether he'd join an Obama administration as climate czar, he says he'd rather "focus on trying to enlarge the political space in which political officials address this climate crisis ... I have seen how important it is to develop a base of support.

One of my greatest criticisms of Al Gore is that he is continually playing in the political space rather than putting together conferences of scientists who will hash out what we know, what we don’t know and what we need to do in order to continue to discover the truth about global climate change.

People for a perfect planet: a new secular religion?

The sad truth regarding Al Gore’s accomplishments is that they will be forever tainted with their association of the far-left of the political spectrum. Those who have co-opted the environmental movement in order to secure their political agenda. Some of which believe man is an unrepentant, filthy stain on the planet’s ecosystem and that his effects should be minimized at all costs. Many of these people belong to splinter sects which believe that animals have legal and civil rights and that we need to reverse the tide of civilization in order to live closer to the land.

A great cover for those who want to do physical harm to America by curtailing its ability to defend itself militarily and support itself economically. Scratch many ecologists and you will find some of the older “peace at any price” and “no nukes” crowd who objected to the rise of nuclear energy, not because it may have been ecologically unfriendly in the old days, but because it put their worshiped Soviet Union at a great military disadvantage.

This has morphed into a new secular religion which requires faith to believe all of its teachings. And, like most religions, fosters a sense of community in the social sense. Where people of like mind can meet and congratulate themselves on doing good works on behalf of the planet. Somewhat like cynical apolitical guys joining the Young Democrats, Young Republicans and various protest groups to get at the hot babes that frequented such events.

This new religion seems like an amazing parallel to the Church of Scientology that was founded by the science fiction writer L.Ron Hubbard. Both profess to want to help mankind overcome its burden. With Scientology, an internal burden and with Gore, the external burden on the planet. Both purport to make the world a better place. Both have an extremely high buy-in – in terms of commitment and cost. Both have shadowy leadership which minimizes media confrontation. Both use celebrities to attract additional supporters. Both have  a following of vocal skeptics. And both feature end-results which are somewhat unbelievable to the person not a member of the religion.

While it seemed important at the time, history may evaluate both Gore’s Noble Peace Prize ,which is a non-scientific political accolade, and his Oscar for a deeply-flawed and misleading “documentary” film to be little more than a timely anti-Bush Administration “poke-in-the-eye" Granted for the purposes of pursuing a political agenda rather than for any solid accomplishment by an individual.

A warning beacon for the planet or simply a political shill for special interests?

While the science is still out on the subject of anthropogenic climate change, there is the possibility that the science will not support Gore’s assertions and that his efforts were simply as a shill for those who wanted to enlarge their bureaucratic constituencies, assume greater political power,  raise taxes, engage in further social engineering which curtails personal liberty and freedom as well as making large amounts of money for themselves and their special interest supporters. What better way to plunder the public treasury with little or no threat of an uprising of those who are being forced to pay the price of making the rich much, much richer and the moving the powerful beyond the bounds of reproach.

Most disturbing …

The most disturbing facet of Al Gore’s work is that he tightly controls media access to his high-cost, well-attended events and refuses to engage in a debate about his work or his conclusions.

What can YOU do?

Demand that there be some rationality in our plan to achieve energy independence – which is at the root of most of our economic and statecraft problems.

Do not vote for those who have been traditional obstructions or who have corrupted the system beyond all recognition. By which I mean the democrats who have placed us in this pickle.

Recognize that the sometimes inept and uncommunicative Bush Administration has performed better than the democrats; regardless of what the left-leaning media may proclaim.

Vote your pocketbook. Do you want to pay more taxes, travel less, give up air travel altogether. Are you about economic growth or economic sacrifice?

Vote the bastards on both sides of the aisle out of office. And that includes local and state elected officials who tend to think of themselves as our new royalty and able to loot the public purse at will.

Be true to yourself, your family and friends. A political party is not a sports team where strategy can be hotly discussed, but the resulting score is not open to interpretation and is instantaneously available to all citizens regardless of their position or belief.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  “Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.” -- Bertrand Russell

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Ben Smith's Blog: Gore compares offshore drilling to invasion of Iraq - Politico.com


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


McCain: Does technological literacy matter?

A false premise and unwarranted ridicule …

Implicit in the story about John McCain’s technology illiteracy is a false premise: that those who do not use modern technological miracles cannot possibly understand the world, govern successfully or who are somewhat impaired in some undefined way.

This is sheer lunacy, perpetrated by a candidate that stands for nothing but change. Change which is never defined or linked to goals, but change nevertheless.

Unwarranted ridicule …

To poke fun at someone who does not seem to use the Internet is to be woefully ignorant of the facts.

One, place John McCain in any modern aircraft and he can instantly read all of the instrumentation and know what it all means. Barack Obama would probably look at the instrumentation as a hopeless jumble of dials, gauges and switches and then waffle on about his favorite subject: himself as the master of change.

Two, the Internet is merely another means by which you may take in information and communicate with others. Not only is a great deal of the Internet filled with false and misleading information, much of the content is not worth the time spent browsing various sites. It is somewhat like being dropped into a multi-million book library and walking the aisles looking at various offerings. Amusing for a while and then extremely tedious as time goes on.

Three, the Internet is another diversion from the urgent problems of today much in the same way television and music radio are temporary diversions from your daily routine or serve only as a backdrop to other activities.

And four, the Internet is not critical to receiving the news nor is e-mail critical to communicating with someone about important issues. McCain has assistants to filter his news and to distill what he sees in order to preserve the time necessary to take action. Unlike Obama who waffles on and on about change without ever having put forth a substantial piece of legislation or producing anything of substance, McCain has enacted significant legislation and demonstrated a bipartisan approach to governing. Obama has done neither – but I am pleased to note that he can browse the web and use e-mail.

Bottom line: one does not have to use e-mail to communicate or visit web sites to be fully informed. The idea that one must be able to operate advanced devices to govern is patently ridiculous. 

So articles like this one that appeared in London’s Daily Telegraph does more to define those who write the stories than those whom they condemn as being technologically illiterate.

“John McCain 'technology illiterate' doesn't email or use Internet”

“Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, has admitted that he never uses email and that his staff has to show him websites because he is only just ‘learning to get online myself’".

The real issue the Obama camp wants to highlight  is age …

“Mr McCain, who turns 72 this year, would be the oldest president ever to be first elected to the White House.”

“In facing Barack Obama, an opponent who is 25 years his junior and has made powerful use of the Internet in his campaign, he is battling against claims he is stuck in the past.”

On the subject of age …

In many cases, age translates to experience and knowledge; the wisdom that comes from having a broad perspective of history.

And there is the very large matter of human nature, which remains almost constant in its wants, needs, actions and behaviors.

One hardly needs a computer and access to the Internet or e-mail to govern any more than one needs to know how to set the times on a video recorder. These are technological skills that may be nice to have, but are totally unnecessary to either govern or deal with human nature.

And, in McCain’s case, age may preclude a second term which would allow both parties to readjust their attitudes and present candidates more suitable to the needs of America. A second chance for America to get it right.

The attack …

“The former US Navy pilot, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war after his jet was shot down over Vietnam, did himself no favors when asked by ‘The New York Times’ which websites he looks at.”

"’Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously, everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge,’ he said, referring to his aides Brooke Buchanan and Mark Salter, who direct him to the Drudge Report website.”

You can just imagine the scorn of the reporter and his disdain for the technologically illiterate…

“When asked if he went online himself, the Arizona senator responded: "They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself.”

"I don't expect to be a great communicator, I don't expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need - including going to my daughter's blog first, before anything else."

“After Mr McCain conceded that he did not use a BlackBerry or email, Mr Salter butted in to say: ‘He uses a BlackBerry, just ours.’ Mr McCain said: "I use the Blackberry, but I don't e-mail, I've never felt the particular need to e-mail.

"I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. I have the luxury of being in contact with them literally all the time. We now have a phone on the plane that is usable on the plane, so I just never really felt a need to do it.

More important than being able to send an e-mail …

"But I do - could I just say, really - I understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns. I understand that.”

"And I understand that something appears on one blog, can ricochet all around and get into the evening news, the front page of The New York Times. So, I do pay attention to the blogs. And I am not in any way unappreciative of the impact that they have on entire campaigns and world opinion."

Understanding the impact of technology is far more important than being able to twiddle (or should I say twitter) with it.

“Mr Obama always carries his BlackBerry with him and is often seen on his campaign plane tapping out emails. The Internet has been central to his candidacy, allowing him to establish a network of grassroots activists and attract small donations.”

How nice … 

Sending little personalized messages to motivate campaign staff and make large contributors feel important.

The fact that Obama’s camp has used the Internet for fund raising and organizing a grass roots community has nothing to do with Obama’s personal ability to send and receive e-mails.

As the Chief Technologist for a computer corporation, I can assure you that the design, operation and governance of his web operations is beyond his personal knowledge and comfort level. In many cases these operations are outsourced to specialized firms.

And, wait a minute, didn’t I read somewhere that Obama’s camp simply hijacked an extremely large MySpace fan base from a fan who diligently created and maintained it as an homage to Obama. 

According to the Associated Press …

“For the past two and a half years, the page has been run by an Obama supporter from Los Angeles named Joe Anthony. At first, that arrangement was fine with the Obama team, which worked with Anthony on the content and even had the password to make changes themselves.”

“But as the site exploded in popularity in recent months, the campaign became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony they wanted him to turn it over.”

“In this new frontier of online campaigning, it's hard to determine the value of 160,000 MySpace friends—about four times what any other official campaign MySpace page has amassed. But the Obama campaign decided they wouldn't pay $39,000, which is what Anthony said he proposed for his extensive work on the site, plus some additional fees up to $10,000.”

“MySpace reluctantly stepped in to settle the dispute and decided that Obama should have the rights to control http://www.myspace.com/barackobama as of Monday night, while Anthony had the right to take the contact information for all the friends who signed up while he was in control. That includes the right to tell them exactly how he feels about the Obama campaign.”

The MySpace flap goes to illustrate the difference between the arrogance of Obama, who needed to authorize the theft of a fan site in order to jump start his web-based grass roots organizing and fundraising, and McCain who seems like a decent and principled individual.

So before Obama’s crew waffles on about their technological prowess in using the Internet, perhaps they should give some credit to someone who apparently showed them how to use it.

“Last month, Mark Soohoo, deputy director of Mr McCain's e-campaign, was mocked for insisting: "You don't necessarily have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country." He also stated: "John McCain is aware of the Internet. This is a man who has a very long history of understanding on a range of issues."

“Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist with close ties to the Obama campaign, laughed heartily at Mr McCain's technological travails.”

"’It's just amazing,’ he told The Daily Telegraph. ‘It's very hard to even think about someone who doesn't know how to use the Internet. It's like, 'Really?' My five-year-old niece can use the Internet. She knows how to go to nickelodeon.com and play her games.’"

“’The interview could be politically damaging, he added. ‘The tough part is that if one of the concerns voters have is that you are out of touch with how they live, what they want, the problems they face, then this only reinforces that notion.’”

Perhaps Jamal wouldn’t be laughing quite so hard if …

... instead of concentrating on the amorphous concept of change and poking fun at McCain’s Internet skills, someone simply asked Jamal a few relevant questions.

Why is it that the black leadership has failed their core constituency in spite of the billions of dollars spent in supporting the black community?

Why is it that black students, ostensibly exposed to the Internet, do not have higher achievement scores than they did in the pre-Internet era?

Why is it that the black community has the highest incidence of single-parent families, children born out of wedlock and the highest internal crime rate of any other demographic?

And, instead of laughing at McCain’s computer skills, how about explaining why the black prison population far exceeds the demographic norms.

These are solid issues that need to be addressed by Obama and his handlers. Why is nobody asking him to justify why he is not dealing with these questions which do not have anything to do with technology and the ability to send e-mail or browse the Internet?

Perhaps if he put down his Crackberry for a moment, he might want to take the time to read a book. Hey, Jamal, why not start with “While African-Americans Slept: Leadership by Parasites” which is authored by Dr. Lenton Aikins.

If I could say anything to Jamal at this point in time, it would most likely be: put up or shut up – tell me exactly how you are going to change these severe and pressing problems using the Internet and e-mail. It seems the media lacks the guts for confrontation, fearing they might be cut out of the content generation that they need for their self-imposed 24/7 news cycle.

Closing with the age issue …

"He's a hero for what he did 35 years ago, but that doesn't necessarily make him the kind of president we want today. Here's somebody who is in many ways very disconnected from where people are."

I wonder if anybody really cares about McCain’s abilities when it comes to using the Internet … especially when he will be busy defending the America from her enemies, both foreign and domestic? Something that Barack Obama barely understands.

What can YOU do?

Do not be diverted from the basic issues of the campaign:

  • Defending the United States
  • Problems with energy independence
  • Problems with our economy
  • Problems with our crumbling infrastructure
  • Problems with our tax system

by those who waffle endlessly about a change which they refuse to define or attempt to divert your attention by age and technological prowess twaddle. Americans know what it important and need to hear from the candidates on substantive issues rather than the folderol about the Internet or a cartoon on a magazine cover.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day: “Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” -- Ambrose Bierce

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

John McCain 'technology illiterate' doesn't email or use Internet|Telegraph


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Yasser Arafat is truly in hell ...

and spinning wildly about as his name is used in an e-mail scam to bilk the gullible out of their money. Not that he did not perpetrate the same scam on both western and Arab nations as they paid him to control his “freedom fighters.”

But he must be in hell as his name is being used in a scam and he doesn’t get to see a dime of the ill-gotten money.

Dear Friend,

This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the Middle East and Palestine in particular.

I am Mrs. SUHA ARAFAT, the wife of YASSER ARAFAT, the Palestinian leader who died in Paris.

Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion, humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence in everybody in the country at the moment.

You must have heard over the media reports on the discovery of some funds in my husband's secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refused to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government.

In fact, the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars. And they are not relenting on their effort to make me poor for life.

I got your contact details from a trusted ally at the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and Foreign Business Relations, during my quest for an honest partner in a monetary transaction.

Please for your confidential information only based on trust, i have a total deposit of 315 Million Dollars in the Following Seven Countries with specified Amounts respectively.

1. France: 25 Million United States Dollars.
2. U.A.E Dubai:  33 Million United States Dollars.
3. Spain:  45 Million United States Dollars.
4. United Kingdom: 85 Million United States Dollars.
5. South Africa: 70 Million United States Dollars.
6. Malaysia: 30 Million United States Dollars.
7. Canada : 27 Million United States Dollars.

I shall be grateful if you could at least receive one of these funds into your bank account for safe keeping and for any Investment opportunity. This arrangement is known to you and my personal Attorney. He might be dealing with you directly for security reasons as the case may be..

All our correspondence should be strictly on email because my phone lines are monitored.

In view of the above, if you are willing to assist for our mutual benefits, we will have to negotiate on your Percentage share of any of the above you can help me secure that will be kept in your position for a while and invested in your name for my trust pending when my Daughter, Zahwa, will come off age and take full responsibility of her Family Estate/inheritance.
Please let me know which of the destinations above will be easier and convinient for you incase you are required to travel for the same.

Please note that, in consideration of your total honesty, I am going to entrust more funds in your care as this is one of the legacy we keep for our children.

In case you don't accept please do not let me out to the security and international media as I am giving you this information in total trust and confidence. I will greatly appreciate if you accept my proposal in good faith. Please expedite action.You can email me at my private email address: [e-mail address removed for security]
Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Suha Arafat

Imagine the irony of a non-Muslim blogger with a history of writing anti-IslamoFascism blog entries being endorsed by a member of the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce? I was, of course, unaware that the maggots actually had a Chamber of Commerce … as I always thought that their idea of a chamber was a “torture chamber” or “chamber of horrors.”

It is also must annoy Arafat no end that, even in a scam, that his faux money is denominated in dollars and is on the wrong side of the currency exchange curve.

And I am so pleased that this phony Mrs. Arafat wants to provide for her children while the children of the Palestinian people are trained as suicide bombers in order to create the political havoc and terrorism necessary for the Palestinian Authority to shake down other countries in order to keep some semblance of the peace.

Of course, I know this is a bogus scam attempt. But somehow it annoys me that there is a real Mrs. Yasser Arafat, living well in France, on the billion or so dollars that her wretched husband stole from his own wretched and misguided people. Aided and abetted by the French who see the money and not the morality of the situation. Otherwise they would have booted her sorry ass out of the country.

--  steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Scary statistics? Or the beginning of new opportunities?

How are we doing?

  YOUR DECISION!

Presented without further comment. – steve

Credits: An official update to the original "Shift Happens" video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, this June 2007 update includes new and updated statistics, thought-provoking questions and a fresh design.

For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com --

Content by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, design and development by XPLANE.


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


Danger: The SINGLE most important key to protecting your health records!

The most important key to protecting your health records …

One need only look at the privacy agreements, end-user licensing agreements (EULAs) and the usage agreements of Microsoft, Google and other such Internet-based service vendors to know that you are signing a “unilateral” agreement which can be modified at any time, for any reason, in which you specifically agree to hold the vendor harmless from all problems, be they failure to provide service, loss of records as well as any other errors and omissions the vendor may make. Your remedy for such a breach is sometimes limited to the amount of your monthly access fee if a charge is imposed. Many agreements mandate arbitration which has been shown, at least in the credit card industry, to be somewhat unfair to the consumer.

So the single most important key to protecting your health records is a TRUSTWORTHY UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE USER AND THE VENDOR: a legally-enforceable agreement backed with both civil and criminal penalties for breach of contract. Without this legal and contractual protection, you are at the mercy of the vendor.

If the vendors want to inspire confidence in their ability to manage your medical data, perhaps they need to provide a single-page legally-binding, unalterable contract that specifies your rights and provides remedies for not being able to provide the service “on demand” and for the accidental and/or deliberate loss of your data and/or the release of your medical information to any party, including the government using a non-judicial summons. In addition. providing you with positive advance notice, via certified mail, (not e-mail) of a pending request for your records by any party that you have not specifically invited to share your records -- before it is fulfilled. An agreement which provides for the correction or deletion of erroneous data by authorized medical personnel under criminal sanction against fraudulently altering medical records. Each medical information provider would be able to alter ONLY those records that they provided. Another consumer would not have the capability to alter any submitted data as that could cause great harm to the consumer. And that the records be stored in an individually encrypted file using separate keys … which may require the consumer to provide a one-time password or pin (personal identification number).

Reuters gets it right …

According to Reuters News Service …

“A major consumer group, insurers together with Google Inc and Microsoft Corp said on Wednesday they have agreed to standards intended to speed adoption of personal electronic health records.”

Personal protection …

“The electronic medical record field remains in its infancy. While U.S. privacy laws govern actions by medical providers such as doctors, there is little in the way of other established privacy, security and data usage standards despite decades of industry efforts.”

For the benefit of others …

“Backers, which also include some doctors and employer groups, said they hope to break a stalemate in moving medical records online, sparked by consumer fears that their personal information will be abused, or held against them.”

“Principles:” Sounds nice, but it is a vendor-based initiative without the force of criminal or civil legal sanctions…

“Principles for personal health records include an audit trail to track use of the data, a dispute resolution process for consumers who believe their personal information has been misused and a ban on using data to discriminate in employment.”

One should also ask about the privacy principles which it doesn’t cover.

So who else is signing on …

“Also signing on to the principles are WebMD Health Corp; Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports; seniors' lobbying group AARP; and America's Health Insurance Plans, representing big insurers such as Aetna Inc.”

Practical Considerations …

There is a very large gap between the theory of good medical practice and what is practiced in the field. The question of whether or not your full medical history and supporting records is necessary to treat common ailments, accidents and other medical conditions is questionable. Most records are kept for legal protective reasons rather than being accessed to determine a pattern in a patient’s condition. There are exceptions to this rule when good records are helpful, but not always. 

Most doctors spend less than fifteen minutes with a patient, especially in those medical facilities which impose a mandated production quota. It has been my personal experience that presenting records at the time of visit is disconcerting as the doctor simply asks questions and ignores the proffered data. In addition, most doctors, even if the file is available, simply leaf through the first sheets which are filed in chronological order. Most do this while standing right in front of you and the cursory scan is performed in approximately one minute.  As for emergency situations, hospital ERs rely mostly on their own tests and may (depending on the doctor) glance at the information that you hand them. Unless they are stumped or need some form of baseline information (which is rare in ERs), they will not seek access to your medical history.

What’s in it for them?

For the doctors …

Little or no investment in large-capacity storage for records that must be maintained for legally-mandated retention periods. Likewise, little or no investment in costly proprietary systems which must be continually upgraded and maintained. With an Internet-based application, health records could remain online, stored at the cost of someone else, and be accessed as needed. With suitable legislation, responsibility for the maintenance of these records becomes someone else’s problem.

For the commercial Internet enterprises …

An opportunity to “monetize” your health records by providing aggregated health care statistics (without individual identifiers) to healthcare providers, insurers and researchers in addition to selling advertisers “targeted” ads to a very select and special audience. These ads might be displayed when you log on to the records site and might consist of ads for new drugs, medical equipment, exercise equipment based on what might be found in your records. It is not inconceivable that the ads could also pop-up in your “personalized” account when browsing non-medical sites. For some vendors, the ability to build and sell Internet-based doctors record-keeping systems via a monthly charge would provide an ongoing revenue stream. 

For the medical insurers …

Easy access to your combined medical records as you have, in all probability, signed an access waiver as a condition of insurance. With the old system, they needed to physically produce a copy of the release and then copy the records at a doctor’s office. A request for records might be met with some resistance and all of the records were not likely to be made available; only those specified in the request. Based on easy access to your past medical history, any slight mistake in your application could result in a denial of coverage.

For healthcare vendors …

Cost-effective advertising that could reach people taking particular drugs or needing some form of home-health equipment. Not to mention sellers of vitamins and other non-prescriptive remedies.

For non-medical insurers …

The ability to access the totality of your medical records using a subpoena or motion for discovery. This could allow an insurer to potentially mitigate some of the damage award by claiming that an accident exacerbated a preexisting injury and was not the cause of the injury.

For the government …

On the healthcare level, researchers seeking information on communicable diseases (including HIV/AIDS) might be able to scan large amounts of online data and legally require the provider to surrender your identity so as to build a comprehensive registry database. Or on a less formal and intrusive basis, perform statistical research using your medical records without your explicit permission. On a political level, the government could possibly access the records of prominent (or just pesky) people and then release the information to media to discredit their actions.

For the media …

As we have recently seen, media contacts within medical facilities were able to procure the medical records of celebrities for use in the tabloid and mainstream press. 

Paranoid or prudent?

I am not saying that a central repository of medical records is a bad thing, what I am saying is that adequate safeguards do not currently exist and the precautions needed to protect your data is not in place. Someday, maybe, but definitely not now.

From the Washington Post ... a similar non-medical concept:

"Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable operator in the United States, announced yesterday that it has backed off a plan to monitor customers' Internet transmissions."

"The company had been planning to harvest the stream of data from each Internet customer for clues to their interests and then make money from advertisers who would use the information to target online pitches."

Before you provide voluntary access to your health records…

  1. Consider the potential medical benefits of having such a combined medical record. If you see a benefit in keeping such a record, ask for copies of your latest test results and discuss the matter with your personal physician. While many health professionals like the basic idea of having records available, there is often a great gulf between wants, needs and actual usage.
  2. Consider the past history of information that has accidentally been “Internet accessible” by the government, its contractors, medical facilities and commercial entities.
  3. Consider the past actions of certain insurers who have made a routine practice of denying claims or looking for any excuse to mitigate their damage costs.
  4. Review the legal agreement between you and the proposed service vendor. Is it one-sided? Does it contain an arbitration clause? Does it prohibit class action lawsuits? Does it disallow or limit damage claims? Does it reference other agreements which may modify the terms of the original agreement?
  5. Considering the number of cases of identity theft and financial account breaches, it the system truly hacker-proof or merely hacker resistant?
  6. Does system access require more than a single pin number or password? If the system claims to use multi-factor authentication, what are its defenses from a common “man-in-the-middle” intercept attack.
  7. Are you locking-in for a lifetime of service from a single vendor or will the vendor allow you to transfer the information to another vendor?

Bottom-line … Do you want to be an early adopter?

I personally believe that since commercial Internet-based recordkeeping is in it infancy and that there will be many improvements to come, that a wait-and-see attitude may be appropriate for most individuals.

What can YOU do?

If you feel that your medical history is unique enough or your current medical condition warrants it, by all means build your own medical history file. Ask for copies of critical baseline tests or copies of important reports. Ask your doctor to review these for completeness. You can scan them into images and place them on a DVD, place them on a USB-memory device or simply store them on your computer. You can summarize the basic information including your doctor access information and current drug list (don’t forget vitamins and over-the-counter remedies). You can have these records placed on a wallet-sized microfilm card. 

If you feel compelled to make your records available, consider a specialized service such as Medic-Alert which was founded in Turlock, California and is the well-respected supplier of the ubiquitous Medic-Alert bracelets.  This is a non-profit institution that actually does what others are attempting. While they are a commercial operation (actually a non-profit), I would tend to put my trust and faith in their hands than in Google, Microsoft or any other venture which wants to monetize your medical records.

Until the government has specific criminal and civil legislation in place to safeguard your individual privacy or your local physician installs a computerized record-keeping system (which can participate in a secure medical information transfer network), I would be very reluctant to hand any Internet vendor my records.

I strongly urge you to read my blog item which was written when Microsoft’s HealthVault was announced. It analyzes the practical considerations of using a commercial vendor for health records along with privacy concerns. Also the quote of the day is particularly appropriate.

It is best to remember: that information which is released to the Internet is destined to remain online, somewhere and somehow, forever and a day.

-- steve

Quote of the day:

"Ways may someday be developed by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences of the home." --
Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Electronic health-record standards agreed | Reuters.com

Microsoft HealthVault: Can you trust Microsoft or any other commercial vendor with your health information?|Onecitizenspeaking


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


AT&T: RAISES DSL, INTERNET PRICES -- FIGHTING FOR SURVIVAL?

There is no doubt that the venerable wireline carrier, with its aging “copper” infrastructure, is experiencing difficulties in generating profits. No matter what new technologies they invest in, at least for the coming ten years, these aging behemoths will be forced to carry the burden of supporting their old central office structures.

Deregulation …

Deregulation forced carriers to share their facilities with a new class of competitors who simply measured profits as a markup on the telephone services they re-sold, often at a price that undercut the long-time carrier whose facilities they were using.

Cell-phones …

The came the ubiquitous cell-phone and wireline call volume originated from land-line connections dropped significantly.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) …

Then the weight of the Internet bore down with such technologies as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) which digitized voices and sent them along the Internet as packets of data. All at little or no additional cost other than having an Internet-capable computer with a cheap software package.

Excess fiber capacity …

In the run-up to the so-called dot-com bust, many major companies were building giant fiber networks. Major freeway builders were running straight-line fiber cable through miles of concrete conduit built-in to the right-of-way. Much of this fiber capacity still remains dark and unused. The giant networking companies killed when they continually re-sold fiber access to each others in order to artificially inflate their numbers to meet Wall Street’s profit expectations.

Cable company competition …

Enter the cable companies, many with residential fiber connections who could offer television, Internet  and telephone service for a combined monthly packaged price.

Truly scary events for companies ill-prepared to abandon their original “competing on chaos” tariffs with their slice-and-dice pricing, each subject to promotional discounts and termination costs.

Scaring the “phone” companies …

But what really scares the telephone companies is the coming of over-the-air digital Internet service from the people that actually provide useful content that people want and need. No wires needed. Communications companies, also known as common carriers, lack this content and are thus severely impaired when it comes to bundling content with communications access. Even though cable companies have access to content, they need their expensive cable infrastructure to deliver it … infrastructure which will be quickly obsoleted if “over-the-air” content distribution and Internet access becomes de rigueur.

Of course, the old guard is buying into the over-the-air system, but they do not originate content.

Maintaining the stock price by charging more …

Instead of offering new and better services at lower prices, many cable and telecommunications companies are simply raising their prices for existing services.

Fairness?

Claiming that the networks capacity is being stretched thin by large-volume high-definition video down-loaders. Trying to position those hi-def down-loaders as impairing the rights of  “ordinary” down-loaders. Which somehow requires the miscreant hi-def crowd to pay a premium penalty for their undemocratic actions. A commercial play on the political concept of class warfare.

According to AT&T spokesman Michael Coe, “Usage-based pricing is one way to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among broadband users.”

Let’s talk about fairness …

Is it fair to allow certain companies to maintain monopolies when competitive common carriers abound?

Is it fair to use the tariff structure to slice-and-dice simple access services into a dizzying morass of combination, mix-n-match rates all with different promotional periods and severe penalties for switching carriers?

Is it fair to force users into long-term “lock-in” contracts, ostensibly to re-capture the discounted cost of “low cost” telephone gear which becomes obsolescent long before the contract runs its course?

But the major question remains: Is it fair of the common carriers to refuse to continue to build out the network to the standards of capacity and service that is routinely enjoyed in other companies?

I could also ask that all government subsidies and money flowing from government contracts be completely and fully disclosed to the American public as part of an “open government” initiative.

And for the conspiracy buffs …

Speaking of a more open government, and the Bush Administration’s effort to shield the telephone companies from the consequences of providing consumer telephone information to agencies without court orders, might this move toward the “deep packet mining” necessary to determine message content type be turned against the people in allowing the common carriers to monitor the content as well as the content type?

The meaning of network neutrality …

Network neutrality has come to mean that no class of Internet service (e-mail, web-surfing, VoIP communications, audiovisual downloads) is given time-based priority. An issue felt deeply by American business when the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) tried to float a trial balloon calling for the per-message pricing of e-mails as a method for reducing spam. And later as a guaranteed method of penetrating the carrier’s (think AOL) proprietary e-mail boundary.

Is the Federal Communications Commission the enemy ..?

In many ways, the FCC, consisting of Administration political appointees goes far beyond its original purpose of providing broadcast frequency technical specifications, issuing station operating licenses, licensing broadcast engineers and arranging the frequencies of competing carriers to avoid undue signal interference into regulating content (see George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words) and political usage of the airways. In many ways they act in political concert with the broadcasters and others they regulate. So, while they may not be the enemy to watch, they certainly are suspect on pure political grounds.

What can YOU do?

Keep competition alive and healthy by switching carriers if one carrier offers a better deal.

Write your legislators and demand “network neutrality” for all types of Internet traffic. Also demand that we take steps to modernize the Internet by promoting the use of private capital to build out existing networks and infrastructure.

Join an organization such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation to assist in preserving your rights in this digital era. Especially when there is little or no existing law that may cover Internet usage by individuals and that the application of old laws proves to be manifestly unfair. www.eff.com.

With America’s overwhelming dependence on the Internet, it is reasonable that a government-private industry coalition should exist for the common good. There is also no reason why a company should not earn a fair return on its profits. However, due to the massive investments in infrastructure, these companies have become de facto monopolies and should be subject to additional government oversight to protect against anti-monopoly and anti-competitive behavior. 

-- steve

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

AT&T Mulls Surcharge for High DSL Use - TheStreet.com One Citizen Speaking...: BUILDING THE TOLL ROAD: Time Warner Cable ...


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


BUILDING THE TOLL ROAD: Time Warner Cable becomes the Internet Gatekeeper

The fact is that we already pay for Internet usage...

  • The taxpayers funded much of the basic infrastructure.
  • Each user pays for their own equipment and their access to the Internet.
  • The common carriers are using public facilities and are subsidized by various government programs.]
  • Cable companies use community monopolies to avoid competitive pricing.

Net neutrality...

The issue of net neutrality was to legislatively insure that no class of data receive preferential treatment in delivery or pricing.

The gatekeepers...

The telephone companies are still smarting over the deregulation of the telecommunications industry and the loss of their core telephone business to Internet telephone systems which use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).  They also fear the cable companies and their ability to provide a variety of telephone and Internet services over their fiber cables.

The cable companies fear that the telephone companies will start upgrading their networks to fiber and run fiber to each household, thus putting the telephone companies with the cable carriers. Both greatly fear wireless Internet access

Their biggest fears: capacity issues and loss of control...

Unfortunately, the United States lags behind the rest of the industrialized world in the build-out of high-capacity, high-bandwidth Internet services. Thus, when dealing with large audiovisual files, the common carriers are afraid that everything will slow down to the point of decreasing Internet usage. Considering advances in compression technologies and the multi-point server distribution of files (think BitTorrent-style file sharing) this is a somewhat unlikely scenario.

But this is not the common carriers biggest fears. Considering that the common carriers are conduit and produce little or no content, they are definitely worried about the digitalization of the analog television channels which can easily be used to multiplex over-the-air Internet channels which require NO INTERNET CONNECTION -- only a power source, a receiver and a computer with the appropriate software. Even the cable companies cannot compete with this model as cable boxes will not be required to access the Internet.

Milking the cow...

With all of their industry problems, the cable companies are now attempting to insert themselves further into the Internet equation by charging for handling data. Thus using existing systems to generate billions of additional revenue with little or no investment in build-out capacity on their part.

Floating the trial balloon...

According to the Associated Press...

"Time Warner Cable starts customer trial with metered Internet access in Texas"

"You're used to paying extra if you use up your cell phone minutes, but will you be willing to pay extra if your home computer goes over its Internet allowance?"

"Time Warner Cable Inc. customers -- and, later, others -- may have to, if the company's test of metered Internet access is successful."

"On Thursday, new Time Warner Cable Internet subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, will have monthly allowances for the amount of data they upload and download. Those who go over will be charged $1 per gigabyte, a Time Warner Cable executive told the Associated Press."

Introducing class warfare...

The common carriers consider themselves to be like municipal utilities and they feel that they should be allowed to charge for their services based on the user's use of their facilities. You can see this in their attempt to control the cost of text messages -- another area in which they fear over-the-air competition.

"Metered billing is an attempt to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among Time Warner Cable's subscribers, said Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable's executive vice president of advanced technology."

"Just 5 percent of the company's subscribers take up half of the capacity on local cable lines, Leddy said. Other cable Internet service providers report a similar distribution."

Statistics coming from any of the common carriers should be viewed with a high degree of skepticism. In this case, considering the application of Pareto's law, 20% of the users should represent 80% of the traffic.

Needed infrastructure investment... 

"We think it's the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure," Leddy said."

Historically, there is a surplus of dark cable fibers left over from the telecom bust. Executive bonuses have never been higher. And often, the goal of managing Wall Street earnings expectations and providing shareholder value trumps capital improvements.   

Secret caps and usage deals...

Why, should their be secret caps on Internet usage. False and misleading advertising by omission?

"Metered usage is common overseas, and other U.S. cable providers are looking at ways to rein in heavy users. Most have download caps, but some keep the caps secret so as not to alarm the majority of users, who come nowhere close to the limits. Time Warner Cable appears to be the first major ISP to charge for going over the limit: Other companies warn, then suspend, those who go over."

This is what competition is all about...

"Phone companies are less concerned about congestion and are unlikely to impose metered usage on DSL customers, because their networks are structured differently."

Perhaps we need to remove cable company monopolies?

Perhaps we should demand that cable companies should no longer be able to secure community monopolies for their services, but feel the sting of competitive deregulation where they are forced to share their connections much in the same manner that competitors were allowed to ship their traffic over AT&T/BELL telephone networks.

The experimental pricing?

"Time Warner Cable had said in January that it was planning to conduct the trial in Beaumont, but did not give any details. On Monday, Leddy said its tiers will range from $29.95 a month for relatively slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for fast downloads at 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Those prices cover the Internet portion of subscription bundles that include video or phone services. Both downloads and uploads will count toward the monthly cap."

And perhaps the cable companies should be penalized for slow speeds and outages. These companies are so used to their unilateral agreements that they often fail to realize that higher costs and poor services forces a new class of competitors.

Do not go quietly...

"A possible stumbling block for Time Warner Cable is that customers have had little reason so far to pay attention to how much they download from the Internet, or know much traffic makes up a gigabyte. That uncertainty could scare off new subscribers. "

"Those who mainly do Web surfing or e-mail have little reason to pay attention to the traffic caps: a gigabyte is about 3,000 Web pages, or 15,000 e-mails without attachments. But those who download movies or TV shows will want to pay attention. A standard-definition movie can take up 1.5 gigabytes, and a high-definition movie can be 6 to 8 gigabytes."

Consider the alternatives to cable delivery of Internet services. Perhaps via DSL using telephone company services? Perhaps microwave or satellite services?

What can YOU do?

I have Time Warner Cable and have experienced multiple outages in the past year. Along with line-up changes and service pricing that rivals the telephone company tariff system for its mix-and-match packages and promotions complexity.  Now they want to extend their control over the Internet -- to which I say HELL NO! That's why I will not use their add-on bundles and use TiVo rather than their extended services.

Be prepared to fight using letters to the Federal Communications Commission, your local community "franchise" regulator and your elected officials.

Remember, the cable companies are selling your usage profiles to advertisers and others. Do you want them monitoring your net usage -- and perhaps reporting directly to the government?

Fight for net neutrality.

One only need remember the egregious actions of Adelphia Cable (my old cable service) which was looted by its executives.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: "He who laughs last has not yet heard the bad news." --Bertolt Brecht

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Time Warner Cable tries metering Internet use: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


LOSING YOUR PRIVACY: ONE DEVICE AT A TIME -- SONY TO FEATURE BUILT-IN CABLE COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE

Another assault on your privacy?

From the Associated Press...

"A leading television manufacturer, Sony Electronics, and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association said yesterday they had signed an agreement that would allow viewers to rid themselves of set-top boxes yet still receive advanced 'two-way' cable services, such as pay-per-view movies."

"In most cases, cable viewers also could dispose of another remote control because they could use their TV's control rather than one tied to the set-top box."

"The agreement marks a significant meeting of the minds between cable companies and one of the world's dominant makers of consumer electronics. The two industries have been feuding for a decade about how best to deliver cable service to customers while allowing them to buy equipment of their own choosing."

"Sony agreed to use the cable industry's technology in its sets as soon as possible but could not say when the first such televisions might appear in stores."

"The agreement is between Sony and the nation's six largest cable companies: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks. The six companies serve more than 82 percent of cable subscribers."

Wiretap may mean more than listening in to your phone calls ...

CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act) is the basic law that demands that all common carriers such as telephone companies, cellular companies, Internet Service Providers (which includes most cable companies) and other such firms enable their devices to permit easy interception of your private conversations and communications.

Can the government listen to in-home conversations which may be accessible with the newly announced communications-enabled media devices?

It apparently has already happened in the realm of in-car conversations being monitored by the authorities...

From the New York Times ...

"The decision, by a divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, arose from a criminal investigation in Nevada. An unidentified company challenged a series of court orders requiring it to create a roving bug for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The appeals court overturned the orders, but its reasoning suggested that the issue will recur."

"The technology involved, used by OnStar, ATX and others, combines a global positioning satellite transmitter with a cellular telephone. Drivers can use the services to seek information and emergency help."

"Most of the court file in the Nevada case is sealed, and the appellate decision did not discuss the nature of the investigation or specify the brand of the system in question. But the court's description of the system's features is consistent with one offered by ATX, which provides telematics services for cars from BMW, Ford, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz, among others."

"The device discussed in the decision allows drivers to punch one of three buttons: for emergencies, general information and roadside assistance. The phone has a speaker and microphone, and it turns out that the microphone may be activated surreptitiously, allowing government agents to listen in on conversations in the car."

"Geri Lama, a spokeswoman for OnStar, said that her company was not involved in the case and that OnStar's setup was not capable of what she called ''stealth listening.'''

And yet, there are numerous mentions of the exact model of the On-Star equipped vehicle, the defendants and other details in press reports. Which tends to make Lama appear to be the equivalent of a White House spokesman reporting ONLY what THEY were told. <Source>

However, another publication further explains: from Granneblog  ...

"The FBI found out about this passive listening feature and promptly served OnStar with a court order forcing the company to give it access. The court order the FBI gave OnStar was not something out of the Patriot Act involving international terrorism or national security but a simple criminal case."

"According to court records, OnStar complied with the order but filed a protest lawsuit against the FBI."

"Yet the FBI was able to enforce the original legal order and completed its surveillance because OnStar’s lawsuit took nearly two years to pass through the court system."

"The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in OnStar’s favor. The ruling was not based on invasion-of-privacy grounds or some other legitimate constitutional basis. The FBI lost because the OnStar passive listening feature disables the emergency signal, the very life-saving call for help that the advertisements tout as the main reason to purchase the system."

"The technical problem of blocking the emergency signal is clearly one that the FBI tech teams can overcome. Thus, under the current ruling, the FBI can resume using OnStar to monitor subject vehicles once it has solved the emergency issue."

Circuit review necessary?

Since we have allegedly seen that the OnStar communications system in General Motors vehicles can permit the authorities, ostensibly with a legal wiretap order, to listen to the conversations of those in and around your vehicle with no notification to the driver or those in and around the vehicle, is it reasonable to demand that Sony and other similar manufacturers provide the schematics for their products so that they may be reviewed by security and privacy experts?

What can YOU do?

Resist any and all extensions of the law which permit extraordinary powers under the Patriot Act and other counter-terrorism initiatives from being used in ordinary criminal cases.

By allowing warrantless searches and wiretaps in ordinary criminal investigations, we will have ceded our Constitutional rights to the government without so much as a fight. 

It happened with the RICO statute which was subverted by two-bit politically ambitious prosecutors to go after people who were not, in any manner, associated with racketeering or corrupt organizations.

With liberal activist judges or hardliner judges who routinely support government activities without question, one can not be sure that our civil and constitutional rights are not under a continuing assault by those who are acting for personal or political reasons.

When these new devices are unveiled, you may need to ask yourself exactly what functions the electronic microprocessors have been programmed to perform? Do these systems adhere to the extra-legal broadcast flag technology that may limit the ways in which you enjoy your programming? Do the systems report back to some anonymous computer what programs you are watching (like cable systems and TiVo) so the ratings information can be sold to the entertainment industry? Will the system monitor other  devices attached to your system using their embedded GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier)? Will the system embed the GUID of the originating device when you burn a CD or DVD as some systems already do? Will each transmission over the devices electronic interface carry your GUID information? And these are just some of the questions that need to be asked.

You might consider joining and participating in the programs of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) to assist in protecting your constitutional rights. Check out their web site at www.eff.org for more information.

Remember, each time a piece of our privacy is ceded to the government, it is gone forever.

-- steve

Quote of the Day: "The person who is not hungry says that the coconut has a hard shell." --African Tribal Saying

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

Sony, Cable Firms Agree To Eliminate Set-Top Boxes - washingtonpost.com

Court Leaves the Door Open For Safety System Wiretaps|New York Times


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


FROG PHISHING ATTEMPT

I don't have a Bank of America account...

Capture5-29-2008-6.43.41 PM

I don't have a PayPal account ...

Capture5-29-2008-6.45.21 PM

And I don't have an AOL account ...

Capture5-29-2008-9.20.54 PM

So why did I receive three almost identical pitches today to log-on to my non-existent accounts with my user name and password to unlock or verify my account?

Because some junior criminal/moron in France was using an Internet Phishing kit (c0mplete with corporate logos) to entice me into revealing my log-on information so that they could access and plunder my account.

Even if I had received a response from a financial institution that I did business with, I would be more inclined to yell at their security officer for sending a real notice that could easily be recognizable as a fake.

This is nothing new about such Phishing attempts. They are the simply the Internet version of the "Bank Examiner Scheme."

A well-dressed and mature man shows up (possibly with an equally well-dressed partner) and explains that your bank account has been compromised by someone employed by the bank. They then ask you for your assistance in catching the miserable crook. All you need to do is go to the bank, withdraw your money, let them count and mark the bills and then you can return it to a new account. Should you have fallen for this scam, your life savings would have flown out the window.

Another version has the Bank Examiner calling you on the telephone to tell you that your ATM account has been compromised. They then ask you to call them back at the bank so they are sure that the telephone line is secure. An associate answers the telephone (with a suitable background of banking type noise) and switches you to the Bank examiner who then requests your account number and pin. They end the call by explaining that they will be contacting you the next day. By that time, they would have already used that information to access your account.

So there really is nothing new in the scam. But that does not stop the gullible from giving thieves large amounts of money each and every year.

What can YOU do?

Should you get an e-mail request similar to the above or asking you to log-on to your account. Simply delete it.

Don't bother reporting the attempt to the bank as their security people are already aware of the situation and will simply tell you to forget the matter. I once called and asked for the security officer at a bank to report a new and novel method of accessing accounts -- and I was blown off by the secretary. Too bad she had already provided her name since my next contact was with the bank's regulatory audit team and told them about the problem with the bank being unwilling to respond to a legitimate customer request. Something must have happened as I received an unsolicited call from a bank officer who wanted more details. I blew him off and suggested he speak with the regulatory audit team. This probably accomplished nothing more than irritating the bank's management, but like the purpose of this blog, it sure beats yelling into the wind.

Never provide personal details to any person unless you are seated at a bank official's desk -- and even then ask them for personal (driver's license) and professional (bank issued photo identification card) identification. Makes them crazy, but your cash stays in the bank.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "

Hindsight is always twenty-twenty."       - -Billy Wilder

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS


DAMN CONNECTIVITY PROBLEM IS PLAGUING ME

As with all things involving computers, I sometimes slip into "user mode" and wonder just what is it that "I" have done wrong to kill my system's connectivity with the Internet.

It seems to be one of our human failings to narcissistically consider that it is "our" fault when something goes wrong with the technology.

As I sit here -- offline and unconnected -- I will share my troubleshooting steps in the hopes that they may be of some service to others facing a similar situation.

Troubleshooting basics...

A word of warning: if you hear a crackle, smell smoke, or see little sparks -- shut down the system immediately -- just pull the plug! You can recover from a computer problem a lot easier than a house fire.

First, and foremost, I save all of the work that I have open on the desktop and shut-down any programs that I may have been using. The next step is to perform the Microsoft "three-finger" salute (control-alternate-delete) to re-boot my system.

I prefer a cold-reboot (power off) to a warm-reboot (restart) as I want to re-set all of my computer's hardware as well as my operating system. I do not want to leave anything to chance, so I normally go all the way to "power off." You should wait a few minutes before turning the computer back on. 

Sometimes, the computer does not shut down immediately and informs you that it is "saving your settings." This has always been a mysterious message to me because I always think it is saving the errors too.

Second, I turn the computer back on using the normal power-on sequence.  That didn't do it!

[missing step -- added after receiving additional 20-2o hindsight inspiration -- turn off all other computers on the network before starting to troubleshoot your connectivity] It seems that troubleshooting one computer at a time is preferable that beating your head against the wall for being dumb.

Third, I reset my wireless router by powering it off for a few minutes. That didn't do it!

Fourth, I reset my DSL cable box by powering it off for a few minutes and turning it back on. In my case, I am looking for three green lights showing that the modem is powered on and is "syncing" (communicating) with the telephone network. Activity is represented by a flashing yellow light on the DSL cable box. All appears to be well with the DSL cable, so I, once again, reset my wireless modem as per the third step.

Fifth, I, once again, re-boot my computer -- bingo, all is well in my household once again.

Should I still be unable to connect to the Internet, I can try bypassing the wireless router and plugging my computer directly into the DSL cable box.

Hint: always allow for accessibility to both your DSL cable box, your telephone wall jack (or other cable connections) and your wireless router. It makes resetting and troubleshooting much easier if you do not have to trip all over yourself in a darkened room where you can barely see what you are doing.

Even I call the PROs...

If I am still unable to connect at this point in time, it's time to speak with my ISP (Internet Service Provider). The help desk can tell you if their system is down or if they can see any connectivity issues with your circuit.

Hint, write down the customer support number for your carrier and place it somewhere convenient.  Trying to access the carrier's number over a dead Internet connection doesn't work very well.

By this time, the help desk is either arranging a visit from the telephone company or assisting you in changing some of the settings on your computer. You are often in good hands as most ISPs have competent help as they know that this is the "customer experience" that keeps you paying the bill or switching providers.

Hint:  If your carrier uses a mass support center in India, the Philippines, Canada or some other exotic locale, ask for a local support number.

Knowing when to call for assistance...

Most connectivity problems are usually short in duration and maybe somewhat difficult to troubleshoot. If you feel that you are unable to take the first five steps listed above, call for help immediately. Do nothing until someone provides direction. Believe me, computer problems can get worse fairly quickly.

Thanking your unseen (and often unsung) team...

And, of course, make sure that you thank your support representative and, if you are so inclined, mention that to their supervisor. If you should receive a follow-up survey, give them high marks. It can't hurt to have unknown friends in high places.

It's Microsoft's fault...

Being rather nosy, I decided to continue troubleshooting my system. I forgot it was Tuesday! On the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft sends out their "automatic" patches which, depending on your computer system, may be automatically downloaded and applied -- sometimes followed by a re-boot.

For some inexplicable reason, one of the computers on my home network was automatically upgraded to Windows XP/Service Pack 3 and re-booted. Due to a coincidence of timing or some other seemingly random event, the network address of this computer failed to be automatically allocated within my home networking system -- and poof -- I was denied connectivity because my computer was trying to reach and unreachable address.

My bad...

As the kids day "my bad." I failed to turn off the other computers on my network before starting my troubleshooting efforts.  See the section in green above.

What can YOU do?

As with all things dealing with technology, things are bound to go wrong at some point in time. Stay calm. Even if you lose important information, it still will not help if you have a heart attack -- and lose documents! But it sure will put the value of those documents in their proper perspective.

If you do not know how to solve the problem, call for assistance before further complicating the issue.

If you are technically savvy, write down all of the support telephone numbers you may need, the critical settings for your system -- and have a valid backup.

If you are not technically savvy, write down all of the support telephone numbers you may need -- and have a valid backup.

And, if all else fails -- consider returning to writing version 1.0  -- using a pencil and paper.

-- steve

Quote of the day: "Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge." -- Paul Gauguin

A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS