Category Archives: Information Technology

IT; is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications.

Russia – Trump – Clinton – Saga

US flag WhitehouseThe Russia Investigation will eventually run its course, but despite the motivations of it, we should be willing to understand these 2016 election facts.

Hillary, in spite of her ‘fait accompli’, experience, or the many allegations, lost an important national campaign for president against a historically unpopular, politically inexperienced, misogynistic, boastful, inconsiderate, rude, willfully ignorant, and compulsive liar.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Speaks At The University Of Miami

Hillary Clinton – explains it’s everyone’s fault but hers

It’s not the fault of the FBI, or the Russians, that made a difference, she still could have won. What she failed to do was visit Wisconsin, hardly paid attention to Michigan, and Pennsylvania. She lost by very narrow margins in those states.Whatever your perception of the embassy attack in Libya, the fact was the attack at Benghazi went on for hours, without any outside support. As a matter of fact, the support ready and willing to go was ordered to stand down. Even if Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State didn’t issue such orders, her response when asked about her lack of being in the loop, “What difference does it make”, coupled with earlier false assertions by her and others, it was motivated by a video critical of Muslims.

Then we saw her response to using private email servers in her home, for classified government communications, maintained by a private “uncertified” tech support company, as if that’s perfectly OK. It was another demonstration of, she will do what she wants, public interests be damned.

Even if you didn’t know or care these things mattered, to many voters it did. She even lost some support within her own party after it was revealed how her campaign undermined the Bernie Sanders primary campaign. It was seen by many as, she would do whatever she thought necessary, to win. That was another blow to her credibility / integrity.

It was a campaign on the slow drip of morphine, oblivious to the impact of the activities of the Clinton Foundation, which curried favor to individuals or organizations making large donations. It was another set of denials to make in the face of mounting evidence.

Donald Trump - running for President in 2016So, here we are, left with someone who knew how to self promote and is now routinely attacked in the media. It’s as if the national humiliation of the woman they all thought would be the next president, could be erased, or at least the person responsible for her defeat could be shown to be as big of a scoundrel as a large number of voters thought Hillary Clinton was, and even more incompetent.

 Official Government Report on the Benghazi Embassy 

The report says there were no undue delays in responding to the attacks, and they pointedly rejected unfounded allegations that the U.S. response was deliberately thwarted by a “stand down” order.

Quite the contrary: the safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response, the independent Accountability Review Board concluded in its Dec. 18, 2012, report.

Note by author: Like most government cover ups, those who continued to work for it, compromised their stories to preserve their jobs and reputations. The accusation of a stand down order wasn’t about the local CIA operatives, they responded quickly. Army Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson located in Tripoli said; “I was not ordered to stand down. I was ordered to remain in place,” Gibson told the House Armed Services Committee. ” The Tripoli team arrived in Benghazi in about an hour, but it was delayed at the airport “for at least three hours,” according to the Senate homeland security committee report. They later concluded the delay was caused by operation confusion, “miscalculation”, not a deliberate effort to thwart the rescue. It wasn’t necessary to have additional boots on the ground immediately. The GRS force in defense of the compound was standing by to laser guide any support aircraft which could have been there in approximately 1 hour.

“General Ham was head of AFRICOM and Commander of the 2011 US-NATO operation to depose Gadhafi in Libya. Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette was in command of the Carrier Strike Group Three (CSG-3), then deployed in Middle Eastern waters during the attack on Benghazi.” 

“Both Ham and Rear Admiral Gaouette reported receiving the same desperate cables for additional security and backup that Obama administration officials received and ignored from Benghazi.”

“General Ham and Gaouette attempted to launch ready response teams in the region capable of provided the much needed assistance during the seven hour long assault on Benghazi. Both were then relieved of command for their actions, described by the US Military as “allegations of inappropriate leadership judgment.”

“General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready to deploy to Benghazi. Then, General Ham received the order to stand down. His response was “screw it,” – he was going to help anyway.”

“Within minutes after issuing an order to deploy his ready response team, Ham’s second in command apprehended the General and told him that he was now relieved of his command. Ham knows who issued the order to STAND DOWN as well as the order to relieve him of his command at AFRICOM.”

“Gaouette readied vital intelligence and communications operations for an extraction effort to be launched by Ham.”

“Stars and Stripes reported October 18, 2012 that General Ham is being replaced by Gen. David Rodriguez. They also reported on October 27, 2012 that Adm. Gaouette is being replaced by Rear Adm. Troy M. Shoemaker. The Navy stated that it was “replacing the admiral in command of an aircraft carrier strike group in the Middle East, pending the outcome of an internal investigation into undisclosed allegations of inappropriate judgment.”

Notes from the Pentagon Investigation:

Q: But do you think, you know, if an F-15, if the military had allowed a jet to go fly over, that it might have prevented [the second attack]?
A: Yeah, and if we had gotten clearance from the Libyan military for an American plane to fly over Libyan airspace. The Libyans that I talked to and the Libyans and other Americans who were involved in the war have told me also that Libyan revolutionaries were very cognizant of the impact that American and NATO airpower had with respect to their victory. They are under no illusions that American and NATO airpower won that war for them. And so, in my personal opinion, a fast-mover flying over Benghazi at some point, you know, as soon as possible might very well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night.

Benghazi_embassy_interior

Response to Hillary Clinton’s use of Personal Servers for State Department Email

Note by author: The use of private, personal servers for official government communications at a State Department level was one of the most glaring bad judgement calls made by Hillary Clinton. No matter what her motivations were, the fact that she wasn’t concerned about the ramifications, and to use language which attempted to portray this as something innocent, assumes great naivete of the electorate on how classified material is supposed to be handled. Many of us have served in a capacity, either in the military or for contractors which are required to handle communications in the strictest and most secure methods as required by government. The NSA has for many years posted guidelines for private companies on how to maintain security. With Clinton working as head of the State Department, she was required to uphold these regulations.

I’ve heard many excuses, or the explanation as described in the above link, “the State Department’s track record for its own email security isn’t exactly spotless”, “there’s no evidence these servers were hacked.” Perhaps that’s true, but the same couldn’t be said for the DNC, and many of it’s users were the same people communicating on the Clinton email servers.

At the Department of State, there is accountability for the security of email systems. If we learned that State’s email servers had been hacked or left needlessly vulnerable, there would be investigations and consequences. With Clinton’s off-the-books scheme, there are only questions.

“… there have been five separate security vulnerabilities identified with Outlook Web Access since ClintonEmail.com was registered in 2009. These security bugs include doozies like “a flaw that may lead to an unauthorized information disclosure” (2010) and “a remote attacker can gain access to arbitrary files.” (2014).

heartbleed security bug

Heartbleed was unknown but active during her tenure as Secretary of State

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The Constant Hum of Net-Neutrality?

I’m reading a lot of the “voices of reason”, telling us their hope for a brighter, better, fairer, more economical, world-wide-web is through FCC regulation. If only we do this one little thing, ask our representative’s for more regulation. As a matter of principle, and all that is net-holy, we need to demand more regulations, we have to get more bureaucrats to control this nightmare of an Internet that soon can befall us, without extensive government guidance.

When someone makes an extraordinary claim, they should be obligated to demonstrate their claim is real.

cartoon-people-clappingNet neutrality The common perception of net neutrality is positive. It’s supposed to require Internet service providers to treat all on-line content the same. They can’t deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites, block sites, or applications, nor can they put their own content at an advantage over rivals.

The claim “The elimination of the FCC enforcing net neutrality will give big cable companies control over what we see and do on-line. If corporations get their way, they’ll allow widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees.”

Net neutrality advocates portray a problem, then without proper examination of facts, they want the government to control the Internet. Their proposals lack the essential explanations of, over what time period a remedy should occur, the cost, or how their regulations are going to monitor and insure the problem(s) were fixed.

Meanwhile a host of complaints, which almost any service provider routinely responds, are cited as hypothetical problematic issues.  Except where criminal conduct has been involved, there are no examples of any Internet-service provider preventing its customers from viewing content on-line. Comcast attempted to “throttle” or slow down access to certain data packets a decade ago; they were blasted in the court of public opinion and soon relented.

beware-false-claims-2There’s an illusion that somehow government can control enterprise better than individual companies. Nowhere can such a claim be demonstrated by facts, yet many persist we need more, not less government intervention. There’s a disconnect on how speeds and feeds would be monitored for each type of Internet application and entertainment source.

Having been involved with data communications over 30 years and responsible for managing the speed as well as the perceptions of individual users, complaints are the daily norm. In many instances a problem stems from user perceptions, equipment malfunction, and purposeful attacks on companies and infrastructure through clever hacking.

One of the frequent claims by those advocating net neutrality are that service providers will raise rates without government regulation. I know for reasonable certainty two things will occur in regard to pricing.

  •  price increases and advertisement revenue claw back is already in the works.
  •  regulations, monitoring, and compliance with increased government regulations most certainly will increase the cost to the consumer.

Google has an 88 percent share of the search-engine market. Facebook has a 77 percent share of mobile social media. Amazon, controls 70 percent of e-book sales, how would government effectively manage their access and cost to use with additional regulation?

If anything, net neutrality is a lose-lose scenario. Access that we take for granted would invariably be slower because providers would have to be increasingly watchful of data flow. Throttling techniques, (packet shaping) would be necessitated. Costs to the end-user would increase.

Summary

The Internet is made up of billions of users, millions of individual pieces of equipment, passed through complex routing by thousands of companies. We’ve seen exponential growth since 1994. Video tape rentals were the usual source for on demand entertainment. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even Google were created during this period. The flexibility, adaptability, and skills required to meet this growth were all done without government supervision. You can almost guarantee if the government had been supervising, we would be still using ISDN or dial-up, waiting for connection, and certainly not getting video on demand.

“When I took office, only high energy physicists
had ever heard of what is called the World Wide
Web… Now even my cat has its own page.”
Bill Clinton

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Why the Net Isn’t Neutral

server rackI understand, you want things to be fair. You’re all about fair play and equality. You’re even willing to wear a silly hat and carry a sign if necessary in the name of fairness. I get it and respect that.

When I read many posts making claims about net neutrality, I realize the masses can be so readily manipulated. It’s one of the reasons I’m glad I’ve learned to be more skeptical and willing to dig for information. It’s because so few people are willing and able to dig in for themselves, preferring to accept the most frequent regurgitations as fact.

No matter how many times I’ve neutralized the arguments about net neutrality, even some people who I regard as highly intelligent, accept the following as fact.

Without net neutrality we will lose these benefits:
(these claims are false but many believe it to be true)

  • education on-line
  • employment opportunities
  • social media access
  • on-line shopping
  • ticket buying
  • cat videos
  • our favorite porn
  • explosive or chemical devices (see this link)

Before 2015, there were no legal protections requiring net neutrality. Before 2015 Internet providers could charge different prices for different speeds. You wanted faster Internet, you paid a higher price. After 2015, when “net neutrality” laws were passed, Internet service providers are able to charge tier level prices. Faster Internet = higher pricing. Notice any difference before 2015 and after? There isn’t any.

Let me explain it another way. The whole idea behind net neutrality, is to keep data flowing freely. You want to be able to watch those on demand cat videos and Internet porn, or your favorite net-fix video. You believe it’s your right, but it really bothers you that a company has the audacity to charge you more if you use more data. How dare they!

If the objectives of the law were to insure we receive services on an equal basis, then why is it other “utilities” charge more for their services? Water companies charge more for greater consumption. Electric companies charge more for additional capacity & usage. What are we asking for data services that differs from other utilities?

If Internet service slows or is completely off-line, I call the provider. The problem is identified and the issue is resolved. Municipalities (local government), created a localized monopoly when they chose a single provider for a specified geographic area. This eliminated a market aspect of control and correction through competition. Rates and services improve with competition. Politicians with government regulations created the problems. They later identify & amplify the problems they started, and promote their willingness to fix if only we would elect them.

Dianne Feinstein speaking

To put it succinctly, if the government were to be put in charge of a desert, there would be a shortage of sand in a few years.