Article 43


Sunday, September 05, 2004


Welcome to - a memorial to the layed off workers of (PRE SBC MERGER) AT&T, and the disappearing MIDDLE CLASS citizens of America.  It is NOT endorsed or affiliated with AT&T or the CWA in any way.

This sticky post was written the day we appeared on the internet in 2004.

In addition to INFORMATION, resources and opinion for former AT&T workers DEALING WITH the EFFECTS OF LAYOFF and looking for meaningful employment, some articles here are meant to bring into awareness the LARGER PICTURE of corporate dominance of the UNITED STATES’ political and economic policies which brazenly DISREGARDS, disrespects and EXPLOITS worker, citizen and HUMAN RIGHTS under masks like FREE TRADE and the PATRIOT ACT - resulting in a return to a society of very rich and very poor dominated by a few very rich and powerful - whose voices are anything but - for the people. If left UNCHALLENGED, the self-serving interests of those in control may result in the end of DEMOCRACY, the end of the middle class, irreversible ENVIRONMENTAL damage to the planet, and widespread global poverty brought on by exploitation and supression of the voices of common people EVERYWHERE, while the United States turns into a REINCARNATION of the ROMAN EMPIRE.  Author Thom Hartmann shares some history and outlines some basic steps to return our country to “The People” in his two articles TEN STEPS TO RETURN TO DEMOCRACY and SAVING THE MIDDLE CLASS. I support CERNIG’S idea for a new POLITICAL MOVEMENT - if not a revolution to cleanse our country of the filth ruling it - as we EVOLVE into a GLOBAL community - assuming we learn the THE LESSONS OF OUR TIME and don’t DESTROY CIVILIZATION first.

Everything here can be viewed anonymously.  Inserting or commenting on articles requires a free user account (for former AT&T employees with a real, non throw-away, email address.) Requests to the new user registration page are redirected to BLOGGED DOT COM’S site because most new signups I get are from COMMENT SPAMMERS and their ilk, so if you want to contribute, contact me through email, phone, or some other way.

There’s no third-party scripts here like privacy-eroding WEB COUNTERS, hidden datamining widgets like Pay-Pal donation boxes, or AMAZON DOT COM tracking stuff.  The RSS feeds are pulled by the server, and have no relation to anything you may be doing here.  Standard Apache WEB LOGS of info like IP, and pages visited are rotated every few days, and used internally to check the web server’s performance.  Logs of suspicious activity may be shared with law enforcement, or other ISPs, to deal with troublemakers.  Nothing here is for sale, and donations are not solicited.

If you get an email that claims to be from somebody here that’s anything but a request to post your article, or report suspicious activity (like logs sent to an ISP to report an attack) - it’s SPAM. I do not, and will not - ever - join the junk mail sender community. There are no mechanisms to prevent anyone from forging anyone elses email address in a “from” or “reply-to” mail header. For those of us whose email addresses are fraudently used, the best we can do is filter out NDR REPORTS.

Per U.S.C. COPYRIGHT LAW - TITLE 17, SECTION 107, this not-for-profit site may reproduce copyrighted material not specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such articles will either have a web link to the source, home page, and/or show credit to the author.  If yours is here and you have a problem with that, send me an EMAIL, and I’ll take it off. Stuff I wrote carries a CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE permitting non-commercial sharing. In addition, this site’s owner forbids insertion and injecting data of any kind - especially advertisements - into ours by any person or entity.  Should you see a commercial ad that looks like it’s from here, please report it by sending me a tcpdump and/or screenshot in an EMAIL, then READ UP about how the PARTNERING OF INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS and companies like NEBUAD are DESTROYING INTERNET PRIVACY

Resumes of layed off AT&T workers are posted for free HERE.

Information on the Pension Class Action Lawsuit against AT&T is HERE.  More pension-related articles are HERE.

Links to some Telecom companies’ career pages are HERE.

Click HERE to learn a little about Article 43 and why I loathe the CWA.
Click HERE or HERE to learn what the CWA did when given a chance to do the right thing.
Click HERE for a glimpse of undemocratic and hypocritical CWA practices.
Click HERE for an article on Corporate Unionism.
Click HERE for an article of AFL-CIO’s undemocratic history.

If you’re looking for telco nostalgia, you won’t find it here.  Check out THE CENTRAL OFFICE, BELL SYSTEM MEMORIAL, MUSEUM OF COMMUNICATIONS, TELEPHONE TRIBUTE, and THE READING WORKS websites instead.

This site can disappear anytime if I run out of money to pay for luxuries like food, health care, or internet service.

Discernment of truth is left to the reader - whose encouraged to seek as much information as possible, from as many different sources as possible - and pass them through his/her own filters - before believing anything.

...the Devil is just one man with a plan, but evil, true evil, is a collaboration of men…
- Fox Mulder, X Files

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.
- John F. Kennedy

Today my country, your country and the Earth face a corporate holocaust against human and Earthly rights. I call their efforts a holocaust because when giant corporations wield human rights backed by constitutions and the law (and therefore enforced by police, the courts, and armed forces) and sanctioned by cultural norms, the rights of people, other species and the Earth are annihilated.
- Richard L. Grossman

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.
- Albert Einstein

He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust.
- Aquinas

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
- Bishop Desmond Tutu

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- Martin Luther King Jr

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.
- Benjamin Franklin

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war.
- Albert Einstein

Solidarity has always been key to political and economic advance by working families, and it is key to mastering the politics of globalization.
- Thomas Palley

Update 8/11/07 - As we head into the next depression, fueled by selfish corporate greed, and a corrupt, SOCIOPATHIC US government, MIKE WHITNEY has a solution that makes a lot of sense to me:

The impending credit crisis cant be avoided, but it could be mitigated by taking radical steps to soften the blow. Emergency changes to the federal tax code could put more money in the hands of maxed-out consumers and keep the economy sputtering along while efforts are made to curtail the ruinous trade deficit. We should eliminate the Social Security tax for any couple making under $60, 000 per year and restore the 1953 tax-brackets for Americans highest earners so that the upper 1%-- who have benefited the most from the years of prosperity---will be required to pay 93% of all earnings above the first $1 million income. At the same time, corporate profits should be taxed at a flat 35%, while capital gains should be locked in at 35%. No loopholes. No exceptions.

Congress should initiate a program of incentives for reopening American factories and provide generous sufbsidies to rebuild US manufacturing. The emphasis should be on reestablishing a competitive market for US exports while developing the new technologies which will address the imminent problems of environmental degradation, global warming, peak oil, overpopulation, resource scarcity, disease and food production. Off-shoring of American jobs should be penalized by tariffs levied against the offending industries.

The oil and natural gas industries should be nationalized with the profits earmarked for vocational training, free college tuition, universal health care and improvements to then nations infrastructure.

Posted by Admin on 09/05/04 •

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Bad Moon Rising Part 77 - Huawei again

image: red phone ringing

Huawei and ZTE are becoming GLOBAL PLAYERS in telecommunications equipment and mobile handsets, and the U.S isn’t the only country uneasy over the security implications.

[T]he politics are palpable at a time when U.S. presidential candidates are busy sparring over China’s trading practices and invoking the “get tough” mantra.

It would be naive to think that cyber-surveillance isn’t happening, and that powerful governments wouldn’t exploit their knowledge of telecom networks to defend their interests around the world. A sobering thought, but not one that you’re likely to hear voiced in the U.S. election campaign.  It’s much easier to bash China.
- Bad Moon Rising Part 52 - Huawei

Gangster Economics Against Huawei & Nordstream 2

By Caleb Maupin
New Eastern Outlook
April 4, 2019

Many Americans base their entire view of the world, and their understanding of the relationship of the United States to other countries, on the contents of a college-level “Economics 101” course. They view the world market as a land of “free competition” in which different countries and international corporations “compete.” They then believe that consumers, communities and countries vote with their “dollars” rewarding the best products and services.

In this delusional fantasy, championed by figures like as George Soros and Anne-Marie Slaughter as an ideal “-Open International Market,” the United States and western countries occupy their dominant position, simply because they are the best. The products and services offered by western financial institutions and international corporations are simply superior to those found anywhere else. This delusional fantasy goes on to present the western financial elite as somehow mentoring and assisting the world, by helping it develop and perhaps someday be more like the superior west.

The Energy Dominance Scheme

Those who argue that this western narrative is false have no greater confirmation than the recent actions of the US government. The response to Nordstream 2 pipeline and the recent crackdown on Huawei technologies confirms that the US government has no interest in free competition among international corporations.

Nordstream 2 is a natural gas pipeline that is currently under construction, scheduled to be completed later this year. It will enable Russias state-run energy corporations to sell natural gas to countries inside the European Union. The people in various EU countries favor the construction of Nordstream 2, because it will expand and ad greater convenience to their access of Russian natural gas.

However, in the United States, the Trump administration is joined by Democratic Party resistance leaders in demanding that the people of Germany and other European nations not purchase gas from Russia. They foolishly demand that the European community purchase gas from the United States, and import it across the Atlantic Ocean.

It is simple common sense to know that importing natural gas from across the planet will be far more expensive for central Europe than simply pumping it over the border from Russia. However, in a shrill atmosphere of hysteria, invoking all kinds of unrelated issues and allegations against the Russian government, the US political establishment is talking of sanctions and other means of coercing the European public into buying their gas.

While US leaders invoke human rights-based criticism of the Russian government, the hypocrisy is obvious. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a brutal autocracy that beheads and tortures, remains a top business partner of the United States in both the energy and weapons markets. The brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has not changed this relationship, which Trump openly defended on a purely financial basis.

The goal of making money for American energy corporations and weakening Russian energy corporations, their competitors, is not even carefully concealed. The White House openly speaks of “Energy Dominance” as the basis for its policy, and speaks of how protecting the profits US-based oil and gas firms is its blatant intention.

The Anti-China Smartphone War

Are the Germans, Belgians, and other European people’s not free to vote with their “dollars” and chose where to purchase their oil and gas? Apparently, the “open international system” is not so open when geopolitical rivals of Wall Street monopolists are involved.

The same rhetoric and methods are being used to try and strong arm countries around the world, and demand that they do not purchase Huawei telecommunications technology from China. Huawei is the largest telecommunications manufacturer in the world. It is an integral part of the market-socialist model developed by Deng Xiaoping and now adjusted and advanced by Xi Jinping.

HUAWEI phones have longer battery life, better cameras, and more durable, longer lasting hardware than American made phones. All across the world, in places like India, Latin America, and various African countries, the public has selected to buy these cheaper and higher quality phones. The profits of Apple have recently dropped as Huawei’s products have become THE CHOICE of more and more consumers around the globe and within China.

However, US leaders once are demanding that people around the world do not “vote” with their dollars and pick the superior phone. If the free market logic were to apply, US leaders would simply urge American manufacturers to be more competitive. Instead, US leaders continue to demand that countries like Poland and Bulgaria stop doing business with Huawei technologies.

Within the United States, Americans have been prevented from “voting” with their dollars and purchasing the P20, a cutting edge new phone released by the Chinese manufacturer. A whole list of Chinese smartphones are now banned as a supposed NATIONAL SECURITY RISK.

US leaders allege that smartphones manufactured by Chinese corporations are a threat to national security because these entities have ties to the Chinese military and government. This claim is rather hypocritical as Apple, AT&T, Verizon, and other American telecommunications companies have not even bothered to conceal their relationship with the US intelligence agencies.

US phones are no more a “military” or “intelligence” threat than Chinese phones are. To expect the Chinese Communist Party, which essentially created Huawei Technologies, to not maintain a relationship with this telecom giant is a ridicules demand.

Not Gentlemanly Business but Gangsterism

More than the “free competition” and “open” international system they advocate, American leaders, seem to be embracing the economic philosophy of Mafia gangsters. Much like criminals operating a protection racquet, US leaders claim that certain countries around the world are their “turf."They demand that their competitors be locked out, and scramble to impose consequences on those who would get in their way.

US leaders are themselves discrediting the very ideology they have spread across the world. They are revealing that in truth, “free competition” is a delusion and that governments tend to rig things in favor of their wealthy paymasters and do their bidding. The mantra of “free competition” has been utilized to restrain developing countries and potential competitors, but US leaders are happy to disregard it and protect the global “turf” of the Wall Street and Silicon Valley monopolies.

The truth is that the richest of the rich in the United States did not acquire their wealth by mere personal sacrifice and brilliance, and the western world did not acquire its place in the world through gentlemanly business practices.

In the 21st Century, countries across the world have rejected these free market delusions and utilized their own governments to construct state-controlled economies to eliminate poverty and raise living standards. Huawei, like Russia’s Gazprom and Rosneft, are the result of economic innovations, in which post-Cold War governments took action to control the economy on behalf of the population.

Unlike so many of the working class people in western countries, the populations of Russia and China have not been left behind in the process of building up these super-corporations. As the two Eurasian superpowers emerged in the 20th century, not due to free markets, but due to socialist central planning, millions were lifted from poverty.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine New Eastern OutlookӔ.


Posted by Elvis on 05/20/19 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Healthcare That Makes Us Ill

Uninsured man

Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease. An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths, as the uninsured are more likely to go without needed care. Another factor contributing to the widening gap in the risk of death between those who have insurance and those who do not is the improved quality of care for those who can get it.
- 45 Thousand Die Yearly from Lack Of Health Insurance

Obamacare, which should more correctly be called by its secret Corporate name, Baucus-care, makes 30 million people buy private health insurance, a near-worthless middleman racket that produces nothing, but is an exquisite parasite that does intrude to the max between doctor and patient for the sole purpose of extracting profit. And taxpayers have to pay for all those who cant.
- Obamacare Ripoff

Over the past few decades, we’ve enriched the labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs. Meanwhile, we’ve squeezed the doctors who don’t own their own clinics, don’t work as drug or device consultants or don’t otherwise game a system that is so gameable. And of course, we’ve squeezed everyone outside the system who gets stuck with the bills.
- Changing Our Choices - Time

This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society - one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security.
- Michael Lerner

To Be Sick and Not Rich Is the Nightmare of Medical Care in the US

By Beverly Gologorsky,
May 9, 2019

On this extremely hot summer day, the ear-splitting siren screaming through New York’s streets is coming from the ambulance I’m in on a gurney on my way to the ER. That only makes the siren, loud as it is, all the more alarming.

I fell. The pain, its location and intensity, suggests I’ve probably broken my hip.

The kind face of the emergency medical technician hovering above me asks questions softly and I confess that Im in terrible pain. Other gentle hands are busy taking blood pressure and doing oxygen counts. These EMT workers, employees of the Fire Department, are good at what they do.

At the ER entrance, the gurneys lifted out of the vehicle, wheels are dropped, and it’s rolled inside. Under a ceiling of bright white lights, it passes and so I pass - one cubicle after another. I catch bits of voices, speaking in several languages.

My friend, who’se come with me to the ER, roots around in my purse for my insurance and then heads for the admissions office. Alone, I close my eyes to shut out the glare of the ceiling lights. I want one thing: relief from the pain. Oblivion would even be more appreciated.

My friend returns to my cubicle and asks, “Is this the only insurance you have?” I panic. Will they not accept me? But they have to! It’s the ER! That’s the reassurance I offer myself and then I tell her, “Yes, its all I have.”

She looks doubtful.

“What?” I ask desperately. “What?”

Don’t you have some kind of supplemental? And she begins to try to explain, but I can’t deal with this right now. All I want is relief from the pain. Any other moment, Id worry about the money, but not now. I can’t! Instead, simply to remain half-calm, I remind myself that I have insurance, that I have a Health Maintenance Organization, or HMO, a plan that offers a wide range of healthcare services through a network of providers who agree to work with members.

After vital signs are taken, I’m moved to a hospital room and given pain meds that don’t offer oblivion, but do help. There, I learn what the X-rays show: a hip fracture. Surgery necessary. Operating rooms all taken. It may be two days before they can operate, the orthopedic surgeon tells me. My friend whispers that every extra day in the hospital will cost a mint. She then appeals to the staff to expedite the surgery. They can’t.

At that moment, I don’t care if the hospital costs a million dollars a day, I just want to get better. However, I, too, want the surgery to happen, within the hour if possible, since my leg is now frozen in a distinctly awkward position, thanks to the way I fell, and I realize that it wont be straight until the operation’s over.

Two days later, after successful surgery, I develop an infection, pneumonia, and the days in the hospital begin multiplying into weeks. My doctors are so busy they can only visit once a day, if that, but the nurses, well they’re the healers, the angels, though they themselves are desperately overworked.

Everyone’s so busy here. Hospitals have GROWN LARGER than ever in recent years as they’ve swallowed smaller hospitals and medical treatment centers. Given the overworked nature of the staff, I hire a healthcare aide to be with me several hours a day. My friend tells me that insurance won’t pick up this expense either, but I can’t worry about that now. I simply need to heal.

Finally, I’m discharged to months of physical therapy, three times a week. Fortunately, the therapy practice takes my insurance (not always a given). But on that first visit (as on every visit thereafter), they run my Visa card through their machine and I get charged a $40 co-pay. There’s nothing I can do about it. After all, my goal is to get back on my feet, literally as well as metaphorically. Still, that’s $120 a week for 16 weeks and so my out-of-pocket patient expenses begin to add up.

Back at home to recuperate, I find a stack of unopened mail, including notices from my insurance company alerting me to the bills that are to follow. Soon enough, they begin to arrive. They include out-of-pocket patient costs for the ambulance, the hospital, doctors, tests of all sorts, drugs of all sorts, and sundry other services. Those bills list both what insurance has paid for each service and the amount of money that I still owe.

And here I experience what must be common to so many Americans. I’m surprised and distressed to learn how much of the cost my insurance doesn’t pick up. The surgery, for instance, was $72,000, but my insurance only covers $67,000 of it. The other $5,000 is my co-pay. Add in the co-pays for everything from that ambulance to other medical services and my costs come to almost $13,000.

An Insurance System of Out-of-Pocket Disasters

I’m sharing my recent journey as a cautionary tale. And, yet, what am I warning against? That we are all somewhat powerless when sickness strikes, but that those of us who arent wealthy suffer so much more. The thought of being without insurance is frightening indeed, yet in our present system we pay in so many ways for the existence of those insurance companies. We pay in co-pay; we pay in not getting treatment we need if insurance deems it unnecessary (no matter what your doctor says); we pay yearly out-of-pocket fees whether we’re 20 or 80 years old. (For Medicare patients, a monthly payment comes out of Social Security.) For most American families with insurance, whether workplace-based or individually purchased, premiums go up regularly, if not annually. At present, we have no alternative to the existing health insurance system, yet it is actually failing us all in so many ways.

What do you do when sickness occurs, if you aren’t rich? Suffer the illness, for sure, and then suffer the out-of-pocket costs afterward. And keep in mind that tens of millions of Americans under age 65 DON’T HAVE any health insurance at all. (In the age of Trump, in fact, those numbers are on the rise.) Moreover, the PERSISTENT GROWTH of income inequality to GILDED AGE levels has had a decided effect on the health of many Americans.For low-paid wage workers, the unemployed, and/or undocumented immigrants, getting sick or having any kind of medical mishap is a disaster of the first order. For them, paying out-of-pocket costs of any sort may simply be impossible, which means that they will often do without medical treatment or even medicine. To put this in perspective, 40% of Americans cant afford an extra $400 even in a medical emergency. Imagine what $5,000 or $10,000 in expenses means!

After an illness, accident, or chronic disease hits, a startling number of those of us with health insurance find that we have to choose between paying for daily needs and PAYING OUR MEDICAL BILLS. Such expenses leave people even more impoverished and often in debt, which is tantamount to remaining unhealthy.

For the poor, Medicaid, the government program that helps those with limited or no incomes, can make a major difference, but many people don’t have Medicaid because their states don’t readily offer it. Even where it’s more easily available, many with incomes not much above the poverty line dont qualify for it. And as Elizabeth Yuko pointed out in the New York Times recently, “Even if you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, that doesn’t mean that all of the members of your medical team 0 which may include out-of-network specialists are covered by your plan.”

As I learned with my fractured hip, someone who is in great pain or out of it for any number of physical reasons cant be expected to focus on that future bill. And even if you could, who would want to cancel any of the services needed to heal?

Though Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, helped significantly, there are still far too many people who will have to agonize over how to manage both an illness and the co-pays that go with it. Meanwhile, of course, the Trump administration and congressional Republicans are working overtime to undermine Obamacare and deprive ever more Americans of any sense of a medical safety net.

What Medicare for All Would Mean

All the talk about making insurance affordable, under the present medical circumstances in this country, adds up to just so many wasted words. Unless something changes big time, insurance companies will continue to sell us their services at ever-higher prices because we cant do without them. Since we lack alternatives, they remain indispensable. The result: out-of-pocket costs will continue to rise, no matter what any politician promises. And if the Republicans in Congress were ever to succeed in doing away even with Obamacare, the services that insurance companies now provide would no longer be guaranteed. What then?

With a single payer system, whether called MEDICARE FOR ALL - or universal health care, everyone would be able to access health care; health would, that is, become a right. Most likely, such programs would be covered by a tax increase, yet they would cost each person so much less than what is now being paid out to insurance companies. With single payer or MEDICARE FOR ALL, there would be no more co-pays, no more premiums, no more refusals of non-doctors to pay for services recommended by medical specialists, no more bills arriving at a patient’s house.

Understandably, some might be reluctant to part with a familiar healthcare system, however flawed, in exchange for a new but untested universal program. Yet once implemented, any version of Medicare for All would be likely to cost less, be so much simpler to access, and ultimately save lives.

The present Medicare system is a good indicator of not only whats possible, but of the ways in which health care can serve people’s needs. However, Medicare is offered only to those who are OVER 65. Nevertheless, Medicare and Medicaid prove the positive. Those programs work well for the elderly and the poor. Even with Medicare, however, insurance companies continue to handle many aspects of your services, should you opt for a Medicare Advantage plan (an all-in-one alternative to original Medicare), in which co-pays and other costs are still the patients responsibility.

According to Open Secrets, insurance companies, Big Pharma, and hospitals spent a staggering $143 MILLION in 2018 alone in their lobbying efforts against any future Medicare for All plan. Nonetheless, as the National Nurses United Association has pointed out: “There has never been this much public support and momentum for Medicare for All.” Eighty-five percent of democratic voters and 70% of all voters support it. With significant administrative setups already in place, thanks to Medicare and Medicaid, the expansion of those health systems to include everyone seems doable; nor is it hard to imagine that many of the workers now employed by insurance companies would be able to shift to working for an expanding single-payer or Medicare for All program.

Truly decent health care is a necessity for a society in which people do more than just survive. Health is not a negotiable matter. You can decide not to buy a new coat and so shiver through another winter, but you really canԒt decide to ignore sickness, disease, broken bones, or chronic illness, all of which can put lives on the line. How can any society function properly without health care available to all? How can any society survive in a reasonably decent way when so many millions of people are left with the choice of either being impoverished by illness or living with an otherwise treatable one?

Health care should be as much of a right as public education the right to educate all children, that is - which was only won after its OWN SET of lengthy struggles. After all, who can now imagine making all Americans pay for the first 12 years of schooling? Yes, we know that there are people wealthy enough to pay for whatever kind of education and health care they want, but they are hardly the majority of Americans.

Good health care must not only be affordable, but also provide easy access to medical services to better nutrition, a healthier environment, and greater longevity. In this context, Medicare For All would be a literal lifesaver.

Finally, good health care is peace of mind, which, at present, our system does not deliver. In my case, the cost of recovery was far too high.


Posted by Elvis on 05/16/19 •
Section Dying America
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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lost Passion At Work

image: lost passion

“Leaders who don’t listen will be eventually surrounded by people who have nothing to say.”

By John Redd Jr.
April 15, 2019

LOYAL EMPLOYEES are the company’s best asset.” Richard Branson

Loyal employees have the passion for the company to do well.

They care about the clients.

They care about the team.

Yet, loyal people are often MISTREATED.

1) Many bosses think that loyal employees are not going anywhere because they are loyal. Therefore, they do not need a raise or a promotion. Big mistake - do not push the loyal people to the point where they no longer care.

2) These bosses assign to loyal people work that nobody else wants to do. Loyalty needs to be rewarded, not taken advantage of.

3) Loyal people tell management what management needs to hear, not necessarily what it wants to hear. Some misguided bosses punish honesty. They forget that managers who punish honesty will be eventually surrounded by people who tell them lies.

Never punish loyal people for telling THE TRUTH !

Loyalty and passion need to be cherished, protected and rewarded


Hat tip: Eduardo Felix

Posted by Elvis on 05/15/19 •
Section Dealing with Layoff
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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Bad Moon Rising Part 76


How Chinese Spies Got N.S.A. Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks

By Nicole Perlroth, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane
NY Times
May 6, 2019

Chinese intelligence agents acquired National Security Agency hacking tools and repurposed them in 2016 to attack American allies and private companies in Europe and Asia, a leading cybersecurity firm has discovered. The episode is the latest evidence that the United States has lost control of key parts of its cybersecurity arsenal.

Based on the timing of the attacks and clues in the computer code, researchers with the firm Symantec believe the Chinese did not steal the code but captured it from an N.S.A. attack on their own computers like a gunslinger who grabs an enemy’s rifle and starts blasting away.

The Chinese action shows how proliferating cyberconflict is creating a digital wild West with few rules or certainties, and how difficult it is for the United States to keep track of the malware it uses to break into foreign networks and attack adversaries infrastructure.

The losses have touched off a debate within the intelligence community over whether the United States should continue to develop some of the world’s most high-tech, stealthy cyberweapons if it is unable to keep them under lock and key.

The Chinese hacking group that co-opted the N.S.A.s tools is considered by the agency’s analysts to be among the most dangerous Chinese contractors it tracks, according to a classified agency memo reviewed by The New York Times. The group is responsible for numerous attacks on some of the most sensitive defense targets inside the United States, including space, satellite and nuclear propulsion technology makers.

Now, Symantecs discovery, unveiled on Monday, suggests that the same Chinese hackers the agency has trailed for more than a decade have turned the tables on the agency.

Some of the same N.S.A. hacking tools acquired by the Chinese were later dumped on the internet by a still-unidentified group that calls itself the Shadow Brokers and used by Russia and North Korea in devastating global attacks, although there appears to be no connection between China’s acquisition of the American cyberweapons and the Shadow Brokers later revelations.

But Symantec’s discovery provides the first evidence that Chinese state-sponsored hackers acquired some of the tools months before the Shadow Brokers first appeared on the internet in August 2016.

Repeatedly over the past decade, American intelligence agencies have had their hacking tools and details about highly classified cybersecurity programs resurface in the hands of other nations or criminal groups.

The N.S.A. used sophisticated malware to destroy Irans nuclear centrifuges - and then saw the same code proliferate around the world, doing damage to random targets, including American business giants like Chevron. Details of secret American cybersecurity programs were disclosed to journalists by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor now living in exile in Moscow. A collection of C.I.A. cyberweapons, allegedly leaked by an insider, was posted on WikiLeaks.

We’ve learned that you cannot guarantee your tools will not get leaked and used against you and your allies, said Eric Chien, a security director at Symantec.

Now that nation-state cyberweapons have been leaked, hacked and repurposed by American adversaries, Mr. Chien added, it is high time that nation states ԓbake that into their analysis of the risk of using cyberweapons - and the very real possibility they will be reassembled and shot back at the United States or its allies.

In the latest case, Symantec researchers are not certain exactly how the Chinese obtained the American-developed code. But they know that Chinese intelligence contractors used the repurposed American tools to carry out cyberintrusions in at least five countries: Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. The targets included scientific research organizations, educational institutions and the computer networks of at least one American government ally.

One attack on a major TELECOMMUNICATIONS NETWORK may have given Chinese intelligence officers access to hundreds of thousands or millions of private communications, Symantec said.

Symantec did not explicitly name China in its research. Instead, it identified the attackers as the Buckeye group, Symantecs own term for hackers that the Department of Justice and several other cybersecurity firms have identified as a Chinese Ministry of State Security contractor operating out of Guangzhou.

Because cybersecurity companies operate globally, they often concoct their own nicknames for government intelligence agencies to avoid offending any government; Symantec and other firms refer to N.S.A. hackers as the Equation group. Buckeye is also referred to as APT3, for Advanced Persistent Threat, and other names.

In 2017, the Justice Department announced the indictment of three Chinese hackers in the group Symantec calls Buckeye. While prosecutors did not assert that the three were working on behalf of the Chinese government, independent researchers and the classified N.S.A. memo that was reviewed by The Times made clear the group contracted with the Ministry of State Security and had carried out sophisticated attacks on the United States.

A Pentagon report about Chinese military competition, issued last week, describes Beijing as among the most skilled and persistent players in military, intelligence and commercial cyberoperations, seeking “to degrade core U.S. operational and technological advantages.”

In this case, however, the Chinese simply seem to have spotted an American cyberintrusion and snatched the code, often developed at huge expense to American taxpayers.

Symantec discovered that as early as March 2016, the Chinese hackers were using tweaked versions of two N.S.A. tools, called Eternal Synergy and Double Pulsar, in their attacks. Months later, in August 2016, the Shadow Brokers released their first samples of stolen N.S.A. tools, followed by their April 2017 internet dump of its entire collection of N.S.A. exploits.

Symantec researchers noted that there were many previous instances in which malware discovered by cybersecurity researchers was released publicly on the internet and subsequently grabbed by spy agencies or criminals and used for attacks. But they did not know of a precedent for the Chinese actions in this case - covertly capturing computer code used in an attack, then co-opting it and turning it against new targets.

This is the first time weӒve seen a case that people have long referenced in theory ח of a group recovering unknown vulnerabilities and exploits used against them, and then using these exploits to attack others, Mr. Chien said.

The Chinese appear not to have turned the weapons back against the United States, for two possible reasons, Symantec researchers said. They might assume Americans have developed defenses against their own weapons, and they might not want to reveal to the United States that they had stolen American tools.

For American intelligence agencies, Symantec’s discovery presents a kind of worst-case scenario that United States officials have said they try to avoid using a White House program known as the Vulnerabilities Equities Process.

Under that process, started in the Obama administration, a White House cybersecurity coordinator and representatives from various government agencies weigh the trade-offs of keeping the American stockpile of undisclosed vulnerabilities secret. Representatives debate the stockpiling of those vulnerabilities for intelligence gathering or military use against the very real risk that they could be discovered by an adversary like the Chinese and used to hack Americans.

The Shadow Brokers release of the N.S.A’s most highly coveted hacking tools in 2016 and 2017 forced the agency to turn over its arsenal of software vulnerabilities to Microsoft for patching and to shut down some of the N.S.A.s most sensitive counterterrorism operations, two former N.S.A. employees said.

The N.S.A.Ғs tools were picked up by North Korean and Russian hackers and used for attacks that crippled the British health care system, shut down operations at the shipping corporation Maersk and cut short critical supplies of a vaccine manufactured by Merck. In Ukraine, the Russian attacks paralyzed critical Ukrainian services, including the airport, Postal Service, gas stations and A.T.M.s.

None of the decisions that go into the process are risk free. “That’s just not the nature of how these things work,” said Michael Daniel, the president of the Cyber Threat Alliance, who previously was cybersecurity coordinator for the Obama administration. “But this clearly reinforces the need to have a thoughtful process that involves lots of different equities and is updated frequently.”

Beyond the nation’s intelligence services, the process involves agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services and the Treasury Department that want to ensure N.S.A. vulnerabilities will not be discovered by adversaries or criminals and turned back on American infrastructure, like hospitals and banks, or interests abroad.

That is exactly what appears to have happened in Symantecs recent discovery, Mr. Chien said. In the future, he said, American officials will need to factor in the real likelihood that their own tools will boomerang back on American targets or allies. An N.S.A. spokeswoman said the agency had no immediate comment on the Symantec report.

One other element of SymantecҒs discovery troubled Mr. Chien. He noted that even though the Buckeye group went dark after the Justice Department indictment of three of its members in 2017, the N.S.A.s repurposed tools continued to be used in attacks in Europe and Asia through last September.

“Is it still Buckeye?” Mr. Chien asked. ҔOr did they give these tools to another group to use? That is a mystery. People come and go. Clearly the tools live on.


Posted by Elvis on 05/07/19 •
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