Friday, May 26, 2017

Is Google Home Just a Little Too Close To Home?

Today's hottest tech items are listening devices such as "Google Home" and "Amazon Echo". These  are WiFi/Internet connected and can respond to voice commands and answer them with built in speakers.  For example, if you wanted to know who wrote the Wizard of Oz, and you have an active Google Home device, you would simple say "OK Google" followed by the command "who wrote the "The Wizard of Oz"?  Then it would search the Internet and respond with the answer.

Here's the problem.  These devices respond to anyone's voice.  A fact that resulted in two major problems this year.

The first was during the airing of the Super Bowl.  Google Home ran a 60 second commercial, and the words "OK Google" were repeated over and over again.  As result, any Google Home devices that were within earshot of the commercial literally went nuts trying to comply with multiple commands in such a short period of time.

The second disaster was caused by Burger King, who apparently saw this TV to Google Home relationship as positive.  In a 15 second TV Commercial, the spokesperson leans into the camera and  says "OK Google, What is the Whopper burger".  Immediately every Google Home device within earshot  responded by listing the ingredients of the Whopper from Wikipedia. Here's the commercial and Google Home's response:



I don't know how many Google Home devices were affected by this, but it demonstrates a real problem.  If you have WiFi connected devices/appliances in your home that are compatible with Google Home commands, they can be controlled by anyone's voice.  Those items could include your security system or your garage door opener.

Now, think about that. If someone knows you have Google Home and knows that you have an answering machine within earshot of it, that person could potentially open your garage door or shutdown your security system by simply calling your home.  And, what if your Google Home is hacked and your every conversation is being recorded by an external listener?  After all, Google Home is connected to your network.  A simple phishing attachment to an email that you opened could tell a hacker all the devices that are connected to your WiFi including Google Home, your refrigerator, your security system, or garage door opener.  Google Home is also capable of remotely starting your car or opening its doors; if so connected.

Obviously people should reconsider the convenience of Google Home and the devices that they hook into it.

References:

Google's Home TV ad makes Google Home systems go crazy: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/06/googles-home-tv-ad-makes-google-home-systems-go-crazy.html

Alexa and Google Home Record What You Say. But What Happens to That Data?: https://www.wired.com/2016/12/alexa-and-google-record-your-voice/

Why your next Echo command should be: ‘Disconnect me from the internet’: http://www.sacbee.com/news/nation-world/national/article148879664.html

Google Says No Whopper For YOU! Shuts Down Burger King’s Google Home Hack: http://hothardware.com/news/google-shuts-down-burger-kings-google-home-hack

Keeping Your Home Safe With Google Home: https://homealarmreport.com/keeping-home-safe-google-home/

​How to keep your smart TV from spying on you | ZDNet: http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-keep-your-smart-tv-from-spying-on-you/


Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Appointment of Mueller Isn't Going to Satisfy Democrats

If any Republican or anyone in the Trump Administration thinks that the appointment of Robert Mueller is going to squelch the ongoing calls by Democrats for a Special Prosecutor to investigate a Trump/Russia collusion, forget-about-it.  For political reasons, the Democrats want this investigation to go on forever, and don't think that if Mueller finds there was "no collusion" the Democrats will  accept it.

Nancy Pelosi has already said as much:
"A special prosecutor is the first step, but it cannot be the last. Director Mueller will still be in the chain of command under the Trump-appointed leadership of the Justice Department. He cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump administration’s meddling."
After the Mueller appointment, Representative Maxine Waters stated this:
"No actual evidence yet, but connecting the dots will lead to Trump impeachment."
There are no dots to connect; but, by making the statement, any listener is lead to believe it is simply a forgone conclusion.  In the case of an impeachment,  "high crimes and misdemeanors" must be proven in a straight line, in a fully connected fashion.  Not merely based on an assumption from a bunch of fictional dots.

Lastly, Nancy Pelosi continues to call Mueller a Special Prosecutor and not his actual title of Special Counsel.  The reason of course, is obvious. "Prosecutor"  implies guilt, and the only thing left to do is to prosecute. If you doubt this, just look at the poster being displayed at a news conference showing "President" Trump happily shaking the hand of the Foreign Minister:


If that isn't political theater then nothing is.  Of course there are plenty of similar pictures of Hillary Clinton doing the same thing.  I especially like this one of eager President Obama being quicker on the handshake draw in his meeting with Putin:

Enough Said!

References:

Dems Laud Special Counsel, But Say It's Not Enough: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/05/18/dems_laud_special_counsel_but_say_its_not_enough.html

Maxine Waters: No Actual Evidence Yet, But Connecting The Dots Will Lead To Trump Impeachment: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/05/18/maxine_waters_no_actual_evidence_yet_but_connecting_the_dots_will_lead_to_trump_impeachment.html

Source of the Obama Photo: http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/D2mrMsiiK8f/President+Obama+Holds+Talks+Moscow/UcMh37HL9e7

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Most Ridiculous "Leak" Regarding Trump

Last week the Washington Post trotted out another leak designed to cement the theory that Trump and Putin are BFF's.  This time, it was regarding Democratic House Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who commented to a group of House Republicans that "I think Putin pays" Trump.  Then to add some heft to the story, it was also reported that Speaker of the House, Ryan, told everyone to keep this quiet. "No leaks".

According to the Washington Post article, this exchange took place almost a year ago in June 2016.  Yet, somehow, it wasn't news worthy until a Special Counsel was appointed to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to ensure that Trump won the presidency.

But, here's the stupidity of this whole article by the "Post".  Trump is a billionaire.  According to Forbes magazine, his fortune sits at $3.5 billion.  Why in God's name would Donald Trump see a need to be paid by Putin?  And, to what purpose?  When asked about the comment, Kevin McCarthy responded that it was "a bad attempt at a joke."  And, it's a joke for anyone to think otherwise.

This appeared to be just another attempt to imply that Trump is an illegitimate President. Merely a pawn of Vladimir Putin.  As more and more of these ridiculous stories surface, I pay less and less attention and am only reminded of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

References:

House Majority Leader McCarthy reportedly said 'I think Putin pays' Trump last year: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/17/kevin-mccarthy-reportedly-said-i-think-putin-pays-trump-last-year.html

President Donald Trump is the nation's first billionaire president -- but he's not as rich as he used to be, according to the Forbes 2017 Billionaires List published Monday: http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/20/news/companies/trump-forbes-net-worth/


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Is the Wikileaks/Russia Story a Coverup for the Real Truth?

In this era of endless politically-motivated negative stories about Trump, and the possible collusion with Russia, it's no surprise that a story that may exonerate the President of that claim has gained zero traction.  That story is about a former DNC staffer by the name of Seth Rich who was shot in the back and killed in July 2016; just as the Wikileaks dump of the DNC emails began.

According to Rod Wheeler (a former D.C. Homicide Detective and now private investigator  for the family of Seth Rich, and frequent crime analyst for Fox News)  his investigation has shown that there were contacts between Rich and Wikileaks before his death.  Additionally, Fox News is reporting that federal law enforcement officers found that 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachment reside on Rich's laptop that may have been shared with Wikileaks.  That laptop is sitting in an FBI office. In addition, the Wikileaks founder offered a $130,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Rich's murderer.  Why would Julian Assange care enough about one murdered person in Washington D.C. if there was no connection to Wikileaks.

There are too many coincidences here, to ignore the fact that Rich may have been the real hacker of the DNC email server and not the Russians.  Is the Russia story a coverup to avoid the embarrassment of the Democratic Party having been duped by its own internal mole?  It sure seems like it. Especially when you find out that the FBI never examined the DNC server to determine if a hack occurred and by whom.  Instead, they completely relied on the analysis of a DNC-paid, third-party consulting firm to come to the Russian hacking conclusion.  Dare I say: "I smell a rat!"

To be fair, the family of Rich considers Rod Wheeler's conclusion to be fake evidence.  However, isn't it possible that the family is simply being protective of Seth Rich? Not to, would imply some serious wrongdoing on his part.

Then there's this latest news.  Hacker Kim Dotcom has recently announced this: "I knew Seth Rich. I know he was @Wikileaks source. I was involved."

References:

Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/

Murdered DNC Staffer Seth Rich Shared 44,053 Democrat Emails With WikiLeaks: Report: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-16/murdered-dnc-staffer-seth-rich-shared-44000-emails-wikileaks

Fix Is In: Comey Praised DNC-Hired Cybersecurity Firm Even After Botched Report: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/20/fix-is-in-comey-praised-dnc-hired-cybersecurity-firm-even-after-botched-report/

FBI Never Examined DNC Hacked Servers: http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/312767-fbi-never-examined-hacked-dnc-servers-report

Did he or didn't he? Murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich 'had WikiLeaks links' according to private investigator - but the victim's family have dismissed the PI's claims as 'fake evidence' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4509952/DNC-staffer-Seth-Rich-DID-links-Wikileaks.html

Breaking: ‘Complete Panic’ at Highest Levels of DNC Over Kim DotCom’s Seth Rich Announcement: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2017/05/breaking-complete-panic-set-highest-levels-dnc-seth-rich-murder-investigation/


Monday, May 22, 2017

CNN Now Uses "Mind Reader" to Blast Trump

According to a recent Harvard study, CNN shares the top spot with NBC for negative reporting regarding President Trump.  Both report negatively, about 93% of the time.

However, apparently, anonymous sources aren't enough for CNN.  Now, they are employing "mind readers".  In an article dated Saturday May 20th, titled "First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, a source says." The network reached that conclusion based on a source who was "a person familiar with his [Comey's] thinking."

Really? A person "familiar with" Comey's "thinking?"   From what carnival tent did CNN dig this joker up?  This network claims journalistic integrity?  Also, think about this.  Comey, as the former head of the FBI, is apparently too stupid to see when someone is trying to sway his investigation?  Then perhaps Trump was right.  Comey "is" a "nut job"!  Of course, Comey didn't think that Hillary's careless handling of classified information rose to the level of criminality, although a helluva lot of other people thought it did.  And, just maybe, Loretta Lynch's meeting with Bill Clinton might have been another form of obstruction of justice.  But, I digress.

References:

Harvard Study Reveals Huge Extent of Anti-Trump Media Bias: https://heatst.com/culture-wars/harvard-study-reveals-huge-extent-of-anti-trump-media-bias/

First on CNN: Comey now believes Trump was trying to influence him, source says: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/politics/james-comey-trump-influence/index.html

Trump Told Russians That Firing 'Nut Job' Comey Eased Pressure: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/us/politics/trump-russia-comey.html

Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton's Use of a Personal Email Server: https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system

Comey cites Lynch-Clinton meeting for lost faith in Justice investigation: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/comey-loretta-lynch-clinton-tarmac-meeting/


Friday, May 19, 2017

Will Africa Make America's Coal Great Again?

Due to EPA regulations and fracking for natural gas, the coal industry has been greatly hurt.  Donald Trump has eased EPA regs but he can't do anything about coal fired power plants being switched over to cheaper/cleaner natural gas.  This is because many of the states have their own EPA regulations that punish coal.

However, now there may be hope for coal mining from Africa.  As a continent, most of Africa is electricity starved as the demand for what we take for granted increases.  Right now 100 coal power plants are in various stages of planning or development in 11 countries.  According to the Global Warming Policy Forum, those new plants represent 8 times more electricity than those countries now have.

United States coal mining could be in an excellent position to export coal to Africa.  After all, we have 27% of the world's known coal reserves.  The only real supplier of coal on that continent is South Africa.  But, South Africa has only 5.4% of the known reserves; making it difficult for them to supply the rest of Africa.

So, simply, the Trump administration should take the initiative and try to negotiate agreements with those 11 nations planning to build coal plants to buy our coal.  Just a thought.

References:

African Nations To Build More Than 100 New Coal Power Plants: http://www.thegwpf.com/african-nations-plan-more-than-100-new-coal-power-plants/

Coal by Country: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_by_country

How much coal does the U.S. export and import? https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/how-much-coal-does-us-export-and-import

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trump Money Laundered for the Russians?

In what appears to be an intentional leak, a story was run by CNBC/NBC regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee requesting documents from the financial intelligence unit of the Treasury Department (FinCEN), about money laundering violations by the Trump Taj Mahal from 2010-2012.  Apparently, this is part of that Senate probe into the Russia/Trump connection. In essence, the "Taj" was found guilty of paperwork violations with regard to "high rollers", whereby, in some cases, the Social Security numbers on the required filings under the Anti-Money Laundering law (AML) did not match the name appearing on the filing.  Further, the casino failed to report persons who had pumped more that $10,000 into slot machines in one day.  As a result, the Trump Taj Mahal was fined $50 million in 2015.

The trouble with the entire story is that the casinos prime violators of the AML are not only restricted to the one with "Trump's" name on it.   Caesar's Palace was fined $9.5 million.  The Vegas Sands paid $47.4 million to avoid prosecution under AML.  Wynn Resorts is rumored to be under a similar investigation.  None of these have anything to do with Donald Trump.

Now, here's the biggest problem with the story.  Donald Trump had basically divested himself of most of his interests in the parent company that owned the Trump Taj Mahal in 2009 following a bankruptcy.  Something that Hillary Clinton was quick to point out on the campaign trail.  At the same time that Trump divested his interest in that holding company, he stepped down as its CEO.  But, his name was still associated with the Taj Mahal under a licensing agreement that was struck at the time he stepped down. So, the bottom line is that the whole story seems to be political in order to label Trump as a money launderer.  I am quite sure a Senate Democrat was at the heart of the leak.  Further, if there is any evidence that a single Russian was one of the AML violators, it will be spread all over the news as if, somehow, Trump was personally responsible.

References:

Russia probe: Senate requests Trump documents from agency that monitors money laundering: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/10/russia-probe-senate-requests-documents-from-money-laundering-watchdog-agency.html

Trump Taj Mahal fined a record $10m for willfully violating Bank Secrecy Act: https://calvinayre.com/2015/02/12/casino/trump-taj-mahal-fined-10m-violating-bank-secrecy-act/

Trump Bankruptcies: Bankruptcy No. 6: Trump Entertainment Resorts, 2009: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/21/hillary-clinton/yep-donald-trumps-companies-have-declared-bankrupt/

Caesars Palace to pay $9.5 million in fines for money laundering violations: https://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/sep/08/caesars-palace-agrees-95-million-fine-money-launde/

Hillary Clinton will visit Atlantic City on Wednesday, where she plans to highlight Donald Trump's business record, ABC News reported Friday: http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/hillary-clinton-may-be-appearing-at-taj-mahal-in-a/article_ac4a4186-3ff6-11e6-9a38-c71e8dcc3563.html

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Democrats Selective Memory on Comey and Russia/Trump

Recently, in another one of Fox News' Fair and Balanced political food fights, I listened to a Democratic strategist argue that the FBI Director's firing was "unprecedented".  Unfortunately, that comment was never challenged and was a lie.  The fact is that the former Democrat, President Bill Clinton set the precedent when he fired the then-FBI Director William Sessions at the recommendation of his Attorney General Janet Reno.

Then there's this Russian conspiracy theory that Trump colluded with them and Putin to become President.  Democrats seem to forget that in early January, before Trump was even sworn in, the Director of National Intelligence released a co-authored, non-classified report by the FBI, NSA, and CIA titled: “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”.  The key assessments of that report were as follows:
  • "We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency."
  • "We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President - elect Trump."
In coming to the first conclusion, the report stated the following:
Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because he has publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012 , and because he holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him.
So, clearly, Hillary was the target of the hacking, without any specific attempt to put Trump into office.  The fact is, the email dumps by Wikileaks would have happened no matter who ran against Hillary. In the second assessment, the most powerful word in the statement is "developed".   This clearly means that Trump was not "job one" in the hacking of the DNC server and Wikileaks.  It took time for the Russians to decide that Trump was the better candidate from their perspective.

I just wish that the media would be honest and well-versed in the topics they are covering, so that political parties couldn't play these intentional games by hiding known facts and relying heavily on the knowledge that voters have short memories.

References:

An FBI director has been fired only once before — and it was under dramatically different circumstances: http://www.businessinsider.com/last-fbi-director-fired-bill-clinton-william-sessions-2017-5

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections: https://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ICA_2017_01.pdf

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Politics of Naming a "Special Prosecutor" For Trump/Russia

Over the years, investigations into things like such as Watergate, 911, the JFK Assassination, Clinton/Lewinsky etc., have all been headed by a supposedly independent investigator. The titles of those investigations and others have ranged from Commissions, Independent Counsels, Special Counsels, and Special Prosecutors; all to do essentially the same thing.

It is interesting to me, that Democrats are now calling for a "Special Prosecutor" regarding the investigation of Russian meddling in our presidential election and possible collusion by Trump and/or his surrogates rather than calling for an Independent Counsel or a Special Counsel.  So why the words "Special Prosecutor"?  Well, it implies that a conclusion of wrong-doing has already been reached.  Here's the definition of a prosecutor: "a person, especially a public official, who institutes legal proceedings against someone."  Of course, the firing of Comey only helps solidify Trump's guilt in the minds of the Democrats.  Thus they feel, more than ever, a Special Prosecutor is needed.

It is all about the Democrats making the voting public believe Trump is already guilty by simply choosing the words that imply it.  Once again, its all about politics, since after months of FBI investigations, no Trump-collusion with the Russians has been found, stated or leaked.

References:

Senate Dems: Hey, Maybe We Won't Confirm a New FBI Director Until a Special Prosecutor is Appointed: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2017/05/15/senate-dems-hey-maybe-we-wont-confirm-a-new-fbi-director-until-a-special-prosecutor-is-appointed-n2326728

Definition: Prosecutor: https://www.google.com/search?q=prosecutor&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

CNN: The public really wants a special prosecutor for Russia investigation: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/15/politics/donald-trump-russia/

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Did the U.S. Hack Computers in 90 Countries?

Last Friday, hundreds of thousands of computers -- infected with ransomware -- demanded the equivalent of $300 be paid to regain access to the computers.  Everything from hospitals to FedEx were affected over 90 different countries.

Cyber experts claim that the ransomware attack was based on software that was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) because of "fingerprints" identified in the code for the hack.  Yet no one really believes that it was originated by the NSA and the U.S. government.  So, then, if it is possible to copy software leaving "fingerprints" behind revealing the source of the software, isn't it possible that the software left behind in the infected DNC server wasn't from the Russian government at all?  But only software that had been hijacked to make it appear as if it were Russian?   Something that Wikileaks claimed just last month.

References:

Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/uk-national-health-service-cyberattack.html?_r=0

Conspiracy theory: WikiLeaks CIA Dump Gives Russian Hacking Deniers the Perfect Ammo: https://www.wired.com/2017/03/wikileaks-cia-dump-gives-russian-hacking-deniers-perfect-ammo/

WikiLeaks says CIA disguised hacking as Russian activity | Daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4367746/WikiLeaks-says-CIA-disguised-hacking-Russian-activity.html

Microsoft Claims Stolen U.S. Government Computer Code Fuels Cyberattack: https://www.wsj.com/articles/microsoft-complains-state-hacking-tools-fuel-cyberattack-risks-1494803026

Cyber attack latest: Vladimir Putin blames US for hack as thousands more computers hit by ransomware: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/05/15/nhs-cyber-attack-latest-authorities-warn-day-chaos-ransomware/

Friday, May 12, 2017

Firing Comey Gave Democrats Fuel for the Russia/Trump Connection

Nearly a day doesn't go by that a Democratic politician or strategist doesn't remind Americans that Trump may have illegitimately been elected because of collusion with the Russians.  This is despite the fact that ongoing concurrent investigations in the House, Senate, and the FBI have not produced any evidence to support it

So, it was no wonder then, that when Trump fired FBI Director Comey, the Democrats automatically smelled a rat.  Immediately,  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded a special prosecutor under the assumption that Comey's dismissal was a direct result of his investigation of Russian interference in the election.  Therefore, the Russia/Trump controversy continues to have legs.

However, there is an obvious flaw in that thinking.  Comey being fired does not stop the Russia investigation. And unless Comey was extremely hands on and had nothing else to do, there is most likely some lead investigator at the FBI who is actually in charge of thet investigation.  That's the reality.

My problem with the Comey firing is why it took so long.  Trump should have let him go early into his presidency because of the way he -- not the Russians -- interfered in the election regarding  Hillary's email server. In addition, the way the firing was handled was a violation of every code of conduct for any executive.  You just don't fire someone by letter unless that person simply isn't available.  The proper thing to do is to have a face-to-face meeting in which the person being released receives a full understanding as to why he/she is being let go.  That was not the case, and it clearly shows an insensitivity on Trump's part that I find reprehensible.

References:

Pence Calls Comey Firing 'Right Decision' as Democrats Pounce: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/democrats-charge-comey-firing-nixonian-demand-special-prosecutor-n757121

Chuck Schumer calls for special prosecutor for Russia probe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2017/05/10/trump-takes-twitter-defend-comey-firing-decision/5ozYTKF0klYhBhmRiDkNjO/story.html

Comey Firing Was Inevitable--Surprise Is It Took So Long: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/09/james-comey-fired-donald-trump-fbi-director-column/101488186/




Thursday, May 11, 2017

2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates are Legion

We are only four months into the Trump presidency, and already, there is speculation as to who will run against him in 2020.  While the use of the word "legion" in the title of this post is pure exaggeration, the Hill.com has identified 43 potential Democratic candidates who could possible challenge Trump's reelection.  Most of the list is primarily made up of a hodge-podge of political types like mayors, governors, senators, and congressmen.  But, the fact that Trump, a political outsider, has won, has resulted in a number of non-politicians who have expressed a desire to enter the race.

These are the non-politicians that the Hill.com thinks may run:
      • Mark Zuckerberg - Billionaire Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook
      • Mark Cuban - Billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks
      • Tom Steyer -  Billionaire Climate Change Activist
      • Sheryl Sandberg - Billionaire and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
      • Howard Schultz - Billionaire and CEO of Starbucks
      • Michele Obama - Former First Lady
      • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson - Wrestler and Actor
      • Oprah Winfrey - Billionaire Media Mogul
Except for Michele Obama and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the basic theme here is "billionaire".   And, there's more where they came from.  You have a number of billionaires who backed Hillary and  who may also be so-inclined to throw their hats in the ring.  Then too, there's a bunch of Hollywood types who might want to take on the "Trumpster".   All who perhaps aren't necessarily billionaires but are wealthy enough to support their own campaigns and who have high name recognition.  Maybe even billionaire movie mogul Steven Spielberg?

What is interesting about this "billionaire" movement is that it appears to be an attempt at fighting fire with fire.  But, it is also interesting that the Democrats would even consider a billionaire as their presidential nominee.  After all, for decades, they have hated the rich (except when it comes to donations), primarily because they claim that the rich represent income inequality and only exist off the backs of the poor.

In any event, 2020 may be shaping up to be one of the most contested campaigns against a sitting President in the history of the United States. In fact, we might even see a bevy of anti-Trump Republicans attempting to overthrow him.

References:

The 43 people who might run against Trump in 2020: http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/332156-the-43-people-who-might-run-against-trump-in-2020

Here Are the Billionaires Backing Hillary Clinton: http://fortune.com/2016/08/04/hillary-clinton-billionaire-backers/


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Democrats are "Ginning Up" Support For ObamaCare

The Democrats seem to think they have a winning reason for people "not" to vote Republican in 2020 (and beyond) as a result of the repeal of ObamaCare. Because of this, they are willing to make up all kinds of lies in order to gin up support for keeping the ACA.

Bernie Sanders said 36,000 people a year would die with the repeal/replacement of ObamaCare.  The Washington Post said this about that:
That's the max Pinocchio's you can get from the "Post" for lying.  And, the lie didn't just stop with Bernie.  Despite the "pants on fire" rating by the "Post," the claim continues to be perpetuated by well-known Democrats such as Terry McAuliffe and Elizabeth Warren.

Then, there's this from Nancy Pelosi.  According to her, 17 million children have pre-existing conditions that would result in denial of coverage. First of all, that number represents 24% of the 70 million children in the country.  Does anyone think that one-out-of-every-four children in America will become uninsured?  Again, the Washington Post had to set the record straight by saying that it is more likely that only 4 million children have pre-existing conditions.

But, understand, there is a difference between having a pre-existing condition like ADHD and having an extremely serious condition that would warrant being uninsurable.  Healthcare economist John C. Goodman stated in an interview with CNBC, that before ObamaCare went into effect, the percentage of uninsured was just 1%.  Thus, Nancy Pelosi's 17 million would be further whittled down to 700,000.

The same goes for Representative Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, who is claiming 129 million people with pre-existing conditions would be hurt (I guess financially) by TrumpCare. Again, this is another gross exaggeration that had to be called out by the Washington Post, and to which the 1%  rule (noted above) would be applied.  The "Post" says the number is more like 50 million who will have negative impacts on their insurance.   Further, only about 3 million may find themselves uninsurable.

The word "might" is highlighted because the GOP House healthcare bill addresses pre-existing conditions with risk pools.  People who would have higher insurance rates would be placed in risk pools that would be partially funded by the Federal Government to keep their costs down.  In addition, the GOP healthcare bill mandates that no one can be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Those who don't have pre-existing conditions, should have their insurance costs reduced as a result of not having to pay for those with high healthcare costs due to long-term care for those pre-existing conditions.

 I could go on and on about all the lies being told.  But, people dying and pre-existing conditions seem to be at he forefront of the Democrat's effort to save ObamaCare.  Other related issues will be addressed in later blog posts.

References:

Fact Checker: Bernie Sanders’s claim that ‘36,000 people will die yearly’ if Obamacare is repealed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2017/01/14/bernie-sanderss-claim-that-36000-people-will-die-yearly-if-obamacare-is-repealed/?utm_term=.9fd97e7078a6

Democrats' grim prognosis on GOP health bill: 'People will die': http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/democrats-grim-prognosis-on-gop-health-bill-people-will-die/article/2622207

Pre-Existing Conditions: Evaluating Competing Claims: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/us/politics/health-care-fact-check-preexisting-conditions.html

Pre-existing condition figures 'nonsense' — here's how to address it, author says: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/04/pre-existing-condition-figures-nonsense--heres-how-to-address-it-author-says.html


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Odd? Baltimore Asks For FBI's Help With Gun Violence/Murders?

The gun violence and homicide rate in Baltimore is no laughing matter.  Murders are at levels that haven't been seen in two decades.  Like a lot of cities experiencing record crime rates, much can be attributed to the "Ferguson Effect" or, more accurately stated, de-policing.  This has been primarily created by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division's intervention. This has caused the police to pull back for fear of being prosecuted for murder or for violating a black person's civil rights.

So, here's the odd thing.  The mayor of Baltimore wants the FBI to fix the violence problem. Who does the FBI report to?  The Justice Department.  This, to me, is like a dog chasing its own tail.

References:

Baltimore’s mayor finally asks for federal help with their murder epidemic: http://hotair.com/archives/2017/05/02/baltimores-mayor-finally-asks-federal-help-murder-epidemic/

DOJ "Ankle-Bracelets" The Chicago and Baltimore Police: http://cuttingthroughthefog.blogspot.com/2017/01/doj-ankle-bracelets-chicago-and.html

Monday, May 8, 2017

Fake News? Bloomberg News and Trump's Coal Order

Just a little more than a month ago on March 27th, Bloomberg News took Donald Trump to task on his pending "coal" executive order in an opinion piece titled: "Trump’s Executive Order Won’t Save Coal Mining Jobs".  In that article, the writer criticized statements made by Trump at a Kentucky rally where he said "A lot of people are going to be put back to work, a lot of coal miners are going back to work. The miners are coming back.”

Now, fast forward to this article in Bloomberg News on May 2nd: "Coal Country Is Back, Along With Signing Bonuses and Pay Raises".  To be fair, the above article and previous one were written by different people.  But, both represent Bloomberg news.  So, if coal mining is back, then the first article was more Fake News.  Maybe, a little too political, and just another opportunity to take a shot at Trump by the predominately liberal media?

References:

March 27, 2017: Trump’s Executive Order Won’t Save Coal Mining Jobs: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-03-27/trump-s-order-won-t-resurrect-jobs-of-miners-key-to-his-campaign

May 2, 2017: Coal Country Is Back, Along With Signing Bonuses and Pay Raises: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-02/in-u-s-coal-country-signing-bonuses-and-pay-raises-are-back


Friday, May 5, 2017

Is "PCMatic" the New "My Pillow"?

Back in January, MyPillow commercials were pulled and reworked as a result of 3 lawsuits and the fact that they carried a Better Business Bureau rating of "F".  No longer could they claim that they were the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation, since the status was not earned but bought and paid for.  Its buy-one, get-one free was also a false claim because in order make that offer, the owner of MyPillow simply doubled the price and the limited-time offer was ad infinitum.  The biggest complaint was that if you wanted to exercise your money back guarantee, you had to pay a hefty return shipping cost.  Now, when the money back guarantee is shown on the screen there's an asterisk with the words "less S&H".

I am surprised that it took so long for MyPillow to get hammered for false advertising.  But, there's another company that is up to the same kind of false claims.  The anti-Virus software product, PCMatic.   The false claim is that PCMatic has been a consistent winner of every test conducted by the site Virus Bulletin.  In fact, this screen-shot from a September commercial shows two fingers being held up to represent the fact that PCMatic won every Virus Bulletin test in the last two years.

Really?  Here's another screen shot from Virus Bulletin's own website (a referenced link below):
PCMatic "Failed" every test conducted by the Virus Bulletin in 2016; and every test in 2015 (not shown, but included in the referenced link below).  Those big "X's" speak volumes. The "won every test in the last two years" claim is simply false.

You be the judge. Is this more false advertising just as with My Pillow?  Should PCMatic continue to make big bucks until it. too. is sued for false advertising?

References:

Full of Fluff? MyPillow Ordered to Pay $1M for Bogus Ads - NBC News: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/full-fluff-mypillow-ordered-pay-1m-bogus-ads-n677571

Truth in Advertising.org: MyPillow: https://www.truthinadvertising.org/mypillow/

Better Business Bureau revokes MyPillow accreditation over ads: http://www.startribune.com/better-business-bureau-revokes-mypillow-accreditation-over-ad-dispute/409593155/ 

Source of the first screen shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnbRh7Bd9jw

Source of the second screen shot: https://www.virusbulletin.com/testing/results/recent/vb100-antimalware/pcpitstop-pcmatic


Thursday, May 4, 2017

What Trump Doesn't Understand About Aluminum

Recently, President Trump signed an executive order to protect the U.S. aluminum industry from cheap imports.  But, what Trump doesn't seem to understand is that while aluminum is the 3rd most prevalent element on earth, it isn't economically extractable unless it is smelted from bauxite ore. And, this is something we have very little of.  In fact, 90% of all U.S. bauxite is found in just one state: Arkansas.  On top of that, most all of the aluminum that is smelted in this country is for non-metallic uses such as abrasives.

So, if we don't have enough bauxite to meet our strategic military metallurgical needs for aircraft, ships, etc., and Trump imposes tariffs against countries like China for cheap imported metals, the U.S. winds up being the big loser.  We'll just start paying even more for aircraft and all other military uses.  You and I will pay more for window frames, aluminum car parts, your can of beer, coke, and  all the other myriad uses of aluminum.

This is sheer stupidity.  He should stick to real estate!

References:

Trump moves to protect US industry from cheap aluminum imports: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-moves-to-protect-us-industry-from-cheap-aluminum-imports/article/2621504

Bauxite mining in the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite_mining_in_the_United_States

Bauxite: Almost all of the aluminum that has ever been produced has been made from bauxite: http://geology.com/minerals/bauxite.shtml

Yes, we have no aluminum (ore): http://richardgibsonwriter.blogspot.com/2010/01/yes-we-have-no-aluminum-ore.html 

List of countries by bauxite production: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_bauxite_production 

Bauxite Dependency: Roots of Crisis: https://nacla.org/article/bauxite-dependency-roots-crisis 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

.Why North Korea Is So Dangerous Beyond Nukes

Today, much of the talk about North Korea is in regard to its nuclear weapons program and the concern that they could reach Japan, or even the U.S. with ballistic missiles.  But one aspect of North Korea's military prowess is that its army could threaten South Korea's relatively weak one.

NorKor has the 4th largest standing army in the world with 1.2 million members. Even larger than Russia's; and just 300,000 shy of all of our U.S. forces.  However, unlike the U.S. military which is stretched all over the world, NorKor's army is singularly focused on South Korea.  More importantly, NorKor  has the world's largest paramilitary reservist force of  nearly 6 million that could easily supplement any conflict with South Korea. 25% of its entire population!

But, the real problem is that South Korea's army stands at just 500,000.  Add to this the 28,500 American soldiers in the "South" and, as anyone can see, NorKor is a very intimidating force to deal with.  In addition, the "North" has steadily built up its conventional weapons while the "South" focuses less on its military and more on economics.  In other words, without additional and extreme intervention by the U.S.,  South Korea would be a sitting duck in a war with North Korea.

References:

North Korean Army: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_People%27s_Army#People.27s_Army_Air_Force_and_Air_Defence_Forces

List: Largest Standing Armies in the World: https://www.google.com/search?safe=off&q=largest+standing+armies&spell=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6rvW9g7vTAhVDwGMKHXkUDLgQvwUIIigA

United States forces in South  Korea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Forces_Korea

South Korean Army: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Korea_Army

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Modern Abuse of the Terms 'Antifa' and "NAZIS"

Recently, there have been threats and actual rioting because conservatives dared to speak on college campuses.  It is best reflected in this political cartoon by Ben Garrison who has a website at grrrgraphics.com:
The two words featured prominently in this graphic are "ANTIFA" and "NAZIS".  These words were theoretically left in the dust following the end of World War II; but, have been resurrected by extremists on the political left to negatively portray conservatives and any conservative political speech.  The word "ANTIFA" actually was coined by Benito Mussolini to define his opponents during his fascist rise in Italy.  It is simply short for anti-fascism or anti-fascist.  The other label that the politically left extremists love to use is "NAZI" which is now commonly used to associate any conservative with Hitler.  But, is this a fair use of those words?

While it is true that those they basically define similar forms of governmental ideology, they are more closely aligned with left-wing politics than with right.  For example, the word "NAZI" is short for "German Socialist Workers Party".  And, certainly, socialism has always been the political goal of the left.  But, you see, in order for socialists to divorce themselves from the stigma of being once associated with Nazism, they have painted Nazis as being right-wing.  So they put Hitler mustaches on George Bush or whoever they disagree with like Donald Trump when, in  fact, neither was hardly a fascist or Nazi. Or, they try to shut down conservative speech wherever and whenever they can.  Recently. a parade in Oregon had to be cancelled because of violent threats, simply because two local GOP groups would be marching in that parade.

The reality is that the "guy" depicted in that cartoon wielding a bloodied baseball bat is more analogous of Mussolini's "Black Shirts" and Hitler's "Brown Shirts" who were jack-booted thugs that violently shut down any speech against their respective governments.  The fact that these modern day "thugs" have to resort to violence and wear masks makes them not "main stream" in our society or in line with the principals of the United States.  I, for one, feel this kind violent behavior is a throw back to the to the days of Mussolini and Hitler and not the other way around.

References:

Anti-Fascism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-fascism

Nazism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism

Sturmabteilung: Brown Shirts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmabteilung

Blackshirts - Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackshirts

Hitler and Nazism: “Left Wing” or “Right Wing”? http://blog.paulmckeever.ca/uncategorized/hitler-and-nazism-left-wing-or-right-wing/

Coulter, Milo, Rice and the loss of free-thinking at colleges: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/20/ann-coulter-milo-rice-and-loss-free-thinking-colle/

Organizers Cancel Portland Rose Parade Following Threats by Anarchists: http://www.gopusa.com/organizers-cancel-portland-rose-parade-following-threats-by-anarchists/

Donald Trump is not a fascist: http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/donald_trump_is_not_a_fascist.html

Wrong: Google's Dictionary: 'Fascism' Can Only Be 'Right-Wing':   http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tom-blumer/2017/02/06/largely-under-radar-google-has-revised-its-definiton-fascism

The Shadowy Extremist Group Behind the Anti-Trump Riots: Antifa, which stands for “anti-fascist action,” is a network of loosely affiliated far-left anarchist and communist groups that orchestrate violent protests and attacks on populists, conservatives, and anyone else its members deem to be “fascists” or “Nazis.”:  http://www.lifezette.com/polizette/the-shadowy-extremist-group-behind-the-anti-trump-riots/

pb


Monday, May 1, 2017

Our "Jobs President" Can't Seem To Fill His Own Jobs

As I write this, Trump is one day away from his 100th day in office.  While many are assessing his first 100 Days performance, one negative thing that sticks out is the fact that he still hasn't filled hundreds of critical jobs in his administration.

While he and others might try to blame the Senate Democrats for not quickly confirming his nominees, the real truth is that he has not yet named 470 nominees of 556 critical jobs; making his slowness in this area, the worst when compared to the 6 prior administrations.  Of the remaining "named" nominees, half are in limbo and haven't even been submitted to the Senate because they are awaiting the results of FBI background checks and ethics investigations.

It's hard to believe that the Trump agenda can be fulfilled while so many critical positions remain vacant.

References:

Help wanted: Trump administration still has hundreds of jobs to fill: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/24/help-wanted-trump-administration-still-has-hundreds-of-jobs-to-fill.html

Trump's biggest unfilled jobs: http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/04/25/top-unfilled-jobs-trump-administration-000426