Article 43


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Another GM Bloodbath

image: GM

End of GM in Ohio town as Trump fails to bring back midwest jobs
Closing of Chevrolet plant is latest blow in a slow, painful decline in Lordstown an area that has suffered more than most from the outsourcing of jobs overseas

By Adam Gabbat
The Guardian
August 23, 2019

For years, the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, employed 8,000 workers in the Mahoning valley.

In a rust belt region that has become synonymous with industrial decline, following the closure of its once mighty steel mills in the 1970s, the presence of the Chevrolet factory in Lordstown, and its well-paid manufacturing jobs, was particularly important.

Then, late last year, GM abruptly shut the plant. The company had already scaled back workers at the Lordstown plant, and this closure saw 1,500 workers, the last of the once huge workforce, out of their jobs.

“I think it’s devastating,” said Mark Sweetwood, the managing editor of the Vindicator newspaper, which serves the Mahoning valley.

“I think it was the last holdout of our industrial age.”

The news was just the latest blow in a slow, painful decline in this area. The rust belt was a boom area at the start of the last century, but has suffered more than most from the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Stories of places like Lordstown abound in the midwest, and the angst and anger here is something DONALD TRUMP was able to tap into in 2016 and that helped propel him into the White House.

The closing of the Lordstown factory came after GM said it would cut 14,700 jobs across four plants in the midwest and Canada. That announcement, in November 2018, was in stark contrast to Trump’s election PLEDGE to bring back auto jobs to the region.

Today the plant, which looms behind a “Welcome to Lordstown” sign at the entry to the village, stands as a testament to the hollowness of that promise. In mid-August it was possible to drive into the complex, where huge parking lots once full of new cars, but now completely empty, with brown weeds growing from cracks in the concrete - stretch as far as the eye can see.

On one side of the factory was a huge sign declaring: “Lordstown, home of the Cruze”. The plant was clad in dull yellow corrugated metal panels, adding to a sense of gloom on a grey, drizzly day.

Lordstown is a small place, essentially a village with a gas station. Warren, five miles north, is more what one would traditionally think of as a town, with a main street, businesses and an impressive 19th-century county courthouse. Away from the pretty town center, however, some of the narrow roads are lined with abandoned homes, while buildings are in varying states of disrepair.

Its a far cry from the golden years of the 20th century, when the Mahoning valley was colloquially known as Steel valley as the steel industry boomed.

“You could walk up and get a job.” All my family worked in the steel mills. Everybody worked in the steel mills. You could go to any of those places any day and get a job, said Patricia Galgozy, who has lived in the area for over 80 years.

Galgozy is the executive director of the Turnbull Art Gallery, in downtown Warren. The Foo Fighters rock star Dave Grohl, who was born in the town, recently attended a show there, and large framed photographs of him adorn the walls. The gallery, a non-profit, was in good shape, but Galgozy has seen how the area has changed.

“I see that impact constantly,” Galgozy said. “People can’t find jobs, in my own family. You cannot find jobs around here many times. It does concern me. It makes me sad.”

Despite that, Galgozy says she is positive about the future.

“It doesn’t mean the quality of life doesnt stay with us,” she said. “I see that we’re fighters. We step up and say what can we do.”

The Lordstown plant manufactured the Chevrolet Cruze, a cost-friendly compact car. It ceased production, with little warning, in March. Some workers were given the option to transfer to other GM plants, either by commuting or leaving the Mahoning valley entirely.

There is a chance that people could be employed at the factory again, with Workhorse, a small company which manufactures ԓhigh performance battery-electric vehicles, linked with buying the Lordstown plant. But Workhorse is beset by its own problems. The company recorded sales of just $6,000 in the second quarter of this year and lost $36.9m.

The consequences of the GM closure are serious. Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development estimates that the plant shutting down will have a negative impact of $8bn in the region. It doesn’t help that other big employers have also recently left the area.

“We also lost Allegiance Airlines in 2018. So we lost our airport and the hospital shut down in 2018 as well,” Sweetwood said.

For longtime residents, the end of the GM era is all too familiar. When the US steel industry collapsed in the late 1970s, the area was decimated. As mills closed in nearby Youngstown and elsewhere, people left the area. The population of Youngstown has halved since 1970, while Warren has lost almost a third of its residents.

The impact is going to hurt everybody in the community, little by little,Ӕ said Al Tate, an 86-year-old who sells fruit and vegetables at the Warren farmers market.

Three of Tate’s brothers lost their jobs when the mills closed in the late 1970s. Two of them left to find work, and never returned.

“Others did the best they can, trying to make it,” Tate said. He said people who have lost their jobs at GM now face difficult choices.

“They’re hurt now and they’re going to hurt worse later after their [unemployment] benefits stop,” Tate said.

“If you ain’t got nothing coming in, you’ve got nothing to spend. If you’ve never had to live week-to-week, from month-to-month, its hard to understand.”



GM now has more workers in China than UAW employees in the U.S.

By Stephen Gandel
August 30, 2019

President Donald Trump on Friday disdainfully labeled General Motors as “one of the smallest car manufacturers” in Detroit, reprising his call that the automaker move jobs back to the U.S. Something else he might not be happy with: GM is also one of the largest car makers in China.

In fact, GM now employs more workers in China than it does members of the United Auto Workers in the U.S. According to its website, the company now has about 58,000 workers in China that’s about 20% more than its domestic UAW workforce, which has dwindled in recent years.

General Motors, which was once the Giant of Detroit, is now one of the smallest auto manufacturers there. They moved major plants to China, BEFORE I CAME INTO OFFICE. This was done despite the saving help given them by the USA. Now they should start moving back to America again?
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2019

Mr. Trump’s tweet appears to have come in response to an ARTICLE FROM BLOOMBERG with a headline describing GM as Detroit’s smallest automaker. The article said it was a “dubious distinction for a company that’s been criticized by ‘America First’ President Donald Trump.”

In response, Trump tweeted, “General Motors, which was once the Giant of Detroit, is now one of the smallest auto manufacturers there. . . . Now they should start moving back to America again?”

In fact, GM is not among the smallest auto manufacturers in Detroit, or anything close to it. Bollinger Motors, for instance, has 17 employees, not including its three dogs, Charlie, Henry and Paco (Paco, according to his bio on Bollinger’s website, likes tennis balls.)

GM has a total of 49,000 UAW workers, including temporary employees. That’s about 2,000 more than Fiat Chrysler, while Ford has roughly 55,000 UAW employees in the U.S.

Still, GM’s domestic workforce has been shrinking for years, a trend that has continued since President Trump took office. At the end of 2016, GM employed 54,096 UAW workers in the U.S.

Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automaker Research notes that the drop isn’t because GM is moving jobs overseas, but rather because it’s selling fewer cars. Since 2016, GM’s U.S. market share has shrunk from 14% to 11%.

This isn’t the first time Mr. Trump has tangled with GM over its shrinkage in the U.S. He has repeatedly criticized the company since it announced plans earlier this year to close all or a portion of three of its plants, including a facility OUTSIDE OF LORDSTOWN, OHIO.

Nor is the president the only politician who has criticized GM for seemingly moving jobs overseas. In a video aimed at UAW workers late last year, former Vice President and presidential candidate Joe Biden questioned why GM was investing in China and Mexico at the same time it was laying off U.S. workers. “Make those investments here, build those vehicles in the U.S. and retain the existing workforce for those jobs,” Biden said.

GM is one of the largest car manufacturers in China. But nearly all of the vehicles it makes there are sold in China. GM only makes one car, the Buick Envision, in China that it sells in the U.S.

Overall, U.S. car exports to China had been rising for the past few years, but dropped to nearly 164,000 in 2018, from roughly 262,000 the previous year. Dziczek blamed the sales drop on the growing U.S. trade war with China.


Posted by Elvis on 08/29/19 •
Section Dying America
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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Fleeing America Redux 4

image: nothing to lose

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”

“The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic.  He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched.  He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”
- H.L. Mencken

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.”
- James Baldwin

Did you see 60 MINUTES LAST WEEK ?

KEVIN MALLORY was a down on his luck former clandestine case officer for the CIA when he was approached by a man the Department of Justice believes was a Chinese spy. Officials say Mallory was a prime target for recruitment. He was out of work, three months behind on his mortgage, and thousands of dollars in debt. But as we first reported in December and as the Chinese would discover, Kevin Mallory wasn’t exactly James Bond. The Department of Justice agreed to show us how they caught Mr. Mallory and why they believe his recruitment by China is part of a massive clandestine campaign to steal not just national security secrets from the U.S. government, but industrial and technological secrets from American companies.

They found him on LinkedIn.

I’ve been ASKING MYSELF for years what I would do if a headhunter from China offered me a job.

If given a choice - living IN A TENT under some bridge, shunned like a diseased leper by society and government just for being UNLUCKY - or invited to live in another country with renewed hopes of a happy RETIREMENT - would you move?

Who wouldn’t?

People living in Scandanavian countries are the HAPPIEST ON EARTH.

What if a foreign headhunter asks you to betray your country in return for a life of luxury where he lives?

Although I feel BETRAYED since writing President Obama and VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN about the LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED a few years ago, my roots are in Brooklyn, NY.

Yet, I’ve never been more horrified by what IT’S BECOME and WHAT I’VE BECOME, or more frightened of winding up hungry and homeless. 

DESPERATE people do desperate things, and people who have nothing, have nothing to loose.

Imagine now you’re behind on your mortgage. Your family, FRIENDS and society - all left you to ROT AND DIE while calling you a LAZY BUM for not having a job.

My tears can fill an ocean from all the crying I’ve done.

In walks Mr Li Hope - the headhunter from our political enemy. All he wants in return for helping you get your life back are the THINGS YOU LEARNED working years for the telephone company.

And maybe a little more.

He’s offering a paid move and generous signon bonus.

Posted by Elvis on 08/27/19 •
Section Personal
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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Curse of Moral Purity

image: moral purity

The Curse of Moral Purity

By Chris Hedges
August 26, 2019

The continued inability of America’s liberal democratic establishment to address the ills besetting the country - climate change, unregulated global capitalism, mounting social inequality, a bloated military, endless foreign wars, out-of-control deficits and gun violence - means the inevitable snuffing out of our anemic democracy. Overwhelmed by the multiple crises, the liberal elites have jettisoned genuine political life and retreated into self-defeating moral crusades in a vain and futile attempt to deflect attention away from the looming social, political, economic and environmental catastrophes.

These faux moral crusades, now the language of the left and the right, have bifurcated the country into warring factions. Opponents are demonized as evil. Adherents to the cause are on the side of the angels. Nuance and ambiguity are banished. Facts are manipulated or discarded. Truth is replaced by slogans. Conspiracy theories, however bizarre, are incredulously embraced to expose the perfidiousness of the enemy. Politics is defined by antagonistic political personalities spewing vitriol. The intellectual and moral sterility, along with the inability to halt the forces of societal destruction, provides fertile soil for extremists, neofascists and demagogues who thrive in periods of paralysis and cultural degeneracy.

Liberals and the left have wasted the last two years attacking Donald Trump as a Russian asset and look set to waste the next two years attacking him as a racist. They desperately seek scapegoats to explain the election of Trump as president, no different from a right wing that tars its Democratic Party enemies as America-hating socialists and that blames Muslims, immigrants and poor people of color for our national debacle. These are competing cartoon visions of the world. They foster a self-created universe of villains and superheroes that exacerbates the mounting polarization and rage.

“Bourgeois society seems everywhere to have used up its store of constructive ideas,” CHRISTOPHER LASCH wrote in 1979 in “The Culture of Narcissism.” It has lost both the capacity and the will to confront the difficulties that threaten to overwhelm it. The political crisis of capitalism reflects a general crisis of western culture, which reveals itself in a pervasive despair of understanding the course of modern history or of subjecting it to rational direction. Liberalism, the political theory of the ascendant bourgeoisie, long ago lost the capacity to explain events in the world of the welfare state and the multinational corporation; nothing has taken its place. Politically bankrupt, liberalism is intellectually bankrupt as well.

The online magazine Slate recently published a TRANSCRIPTOF A TOWN HALL MEETING between Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, and the Times staff. It was a fascinating windowinto the hubris and cluelessness of the paper, the ruling elites’ primary news organ, which has spent the last two years shredding its credibility by hyping the investigation by Robert Mueller and the conspiracy theory that Trump was a Russian asset. Here is Baquet on the newspapers reporting on Trump:

Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. Im going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.

The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. Were a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?

I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, thats become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we writeabout race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think thats what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.

Baquet asserts that the journalistic campaign to incriminate Trump as a Russian agent sputtered out and a new campaignread moral crusade - arose six or seven weeks ago to focus on Trump’s racism. Trump’s racism, of course, did not begin six or seven weeks ago. It is the paper that switched narratives six or seven weeks ago, from one moral crusade to another.

This is not journalism. It is moral purity masquerading as journalism. And it will, like the “Russiagate” conspiracy, be useless to blunt Trumps support, explain and cope with our innumerable crises or heal the growing divide.

The problem that the paper, along with the Democratic Party and its liberal allies, faces is that it is captive to its corporate sponsors who orchestrated our grotesque income inequality, deindustrialization, out-of-control military machine, neutered media and muzzled scholarship. The paper, therefore, rather than turn on its corporate advertisers and elitist readers, first blamed Russia and now blames white supremacists. The longer such demagoguery continues on the left and the right, the more the country will be torn asunder.

Hannah Arendt in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” pointed out that ideologies are attractive in times of crisis because they reduce and simplify reality to a single idea. While the right wing blames the decline on darker races, the liberal elites blame the decline on Russia or racists. It is the ideology, not experience or fact, that is used to explain all historical happenings, [to provide] the total explanation of the past, the total knowledge of the present, and the reliable prediction of the future, she wrote.

All ideologies demand an impossible consistency. This is achieved by a constant mutation and distortion of reality until it becomes, as the Mueller investigation did, absurdist theater. The result for believers, Arendt wrote, is disorientation, heightened fear and paranoia.

These types of collective self-delusions have always existed in American society, as the historian Richard Hofstadter pointed out. Such self-delusions, he wrote, are “made up of certain preoccupations and fantasies: the megalomaniac view of oneself as the Elect, wholly good, abominably persecuted, yet assured of ultimate triumph; the attribution of gigantic and demonic powers to the adversary.”

But these self-delusions have usually been confined to the fringes of society, such as, for example, a left wing that made political pilgrimages to the Soviet Union, blissfully ignoring its government’s slaughter of millions of its own citizens, the gulags and the famines, and a right wing that celebrated fascist dictatorships in Spain and later Latin America, overlooking the mass executions, state terror and death squads there.

Collective self-delusions, however, have now been mainstreamed. They are trumpeted by media platforms across the political spectrum and by the political establishment. They are the fodder of Fox News and Breitbart as well as MSNBC and CNN. Jake Tapper and Rachel Maddow, as MATT TAIBBI HAS POINTED OUT, are liberal versions of Sean Hannity.

RICHARD RORTY, with uncanny prescience, wrote in his 1998 book Achieving Our Country:

Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a WEIMER-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American DreamӔ is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workersthemselves desperately afraid of being downsizedחare not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.

At that point, something will crack. The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking for a strongman to vote forsomeone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodern professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewisג novel It CanӒt Happen Here may then be played out. For once such a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.

One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words ԓnigger and ԓkike will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

The rupture of social bonds, caused by the breakdown of society, income inequality, social stagnation and the disempowerment of the working class, is expressed in innumerable dark pathologies. A fractured public carries out self-destructive behaviors, out-of-control gun violence, opioid addiction, and sexual sadism - in an attempt to cope with dislocation, impotence and pain. Moral crusades are an expression of this cultural sickness. They are emblematic of a society in deep distress, unable to cope rationally with the problems besetting it. These crusades always make things worse, for once they are exposed as ineffectual they invariably breed a frightening fanaticism.


Posted by Elvis on 08/26/19 •
Section Revelations
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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Defcon Hospital Horror Stories

By Emil Hozan
August 23, 2019

Disclaimer: don’t read this if you don’t want your sense of security involving medical information shattered. This post is based on a Skytalk presented at Def Con 27. The presenter opted to redact their name for privacy concerns. What made this talk quite startling was the fact that the presenter supports over 25 hospitals around the US and has insight of just how poor information systems security is within these hospital environments. Due to the nature of these talks, recordings are prohibited, and I didn’t want to get kicked out, so I avoided taking notes as well just in case. This semi ties into a past post I wrote pertaining to poor MEDICAL DEVICE SECURITY and another follow up post about what the INDUSTRY IS DOING about it.

That said, if you want to learn more about an insiderҒs perspective into the horror stories within the medical industry, read on.

A Barrage of Issues

Hearing all that was said was quite terrifying, from password concerns to the sheer number of internal vulnerabilities detected, I was simply astonished at the words coming from the speaker. What was more than that, however, was UPPER MANAGEMENT’S LACK OF INTEREST in corrective action. Stick with me while I go through the points discussed and what solutions were proposed but not implemented.

For starters, a huge concern was the operating systems in use within the hospitals the speaker supported. He stated that DOS was still being used and he was the only employee on his team who even knew what DOS was. Not to mention the continued use of Windows XP, NT, and 95 now if that doesn’t date a few things, I am not sure what will. These are machines handling personal health information, where critical vulnerabilities are publicized with no available patches or fixes are available for these unsupported systems. Whats even more crazy was a “new robot” that was in charge of provisioning medicine - it, too, ran on DOS!

If you’re curious of release dates, check out this Wikipedia page discussing Windows version and their release dates. On that same note, and one of the most alarming points made, was that on average, his internally ran vulnerability scans results in over 300 critical vulnerabilities! You read that right, yes this is on average.

Next off was poor password practices. From weak passwords just barely satisfying password policies, to doctors openly sharing passwords with staff members, it’s almost as if anyone could access a patients’ health information masked as a doctor. The speaker stated that it wasn’t uncommon for nurses to know the password of at least three doctors they worked with. There were network devices that didn’t even have a password! We all know what can happen with compromised passwords, or even a lack of a password - yikes!

To make matters worse, I forget the password solution used in his supported hospitals, but it was something along the lines of SSGP or similar. What I know is that it was four characters and started with SS. The point is, this speaker was part of a hacker group and this group discovered a vulnerability but opted to not disclose this vulnerability. The speakers dire warning was, all medical staff should change their passwords, immediately!” Think about that for a moment; a password solution with an undisclosed vulnerability I’ll tie these password points in later, keep reading.

Another alarming act was his attempt at personally lockpicking doors protecting secure areas. He mentioned one such incident where two or three people approached him stating, What you’re doing is pretty shady. The speaker replied, “I know, you’re right. What I am doing is shady.” He said that after three hours, no one reported him, nor did security confront him. The speaker was able to break his way into network closets, where equipment was essentially wide open and was able to set up rogue access points, as well as scan the network. Mind you he was doing this in an attempt to check what security measures were in place.

One observation the speaker made was the sheer amount of bacteria and mold growing on this network equipment. He showed pictures he took of Ethernet cables and switches caked with molasses and other icky stuff ewww.

Wow is really all I can say. That was astonishing and to be honest, it was tough to admit and see truth in his alleged statements. However, what made me believe his story more than anything was his interest in his and his father֒s medical conditions. One day he got curious due to the number of hospital visits the two make. When he started poking, he went full throttle to see just how poor security measures are.

Enough Scary Talk, Proposed Solutions

In reading the above section, you should know by now what some proposed solutions would be. Examples include not sharing your password, enabling passwords for that matter, and using currently supported operating systems, as well as ensuring physical security is a thing. If you weren’t thinking of those, now you know.

Past that, and what actually seemed to be a fair solution to avoid a lot of the above: mobile medical units.

The speaker started off by saying mammograms are mobile, and that there should be an effort in mobilizing other critical devices. Get everything mobilized and start treating patients in-house, where they’re most comfortable. That really stuck out to me. There’s always been a notion of making patients most comfortable and the truth is, often times, being at home is whats most comfortable.

I am sure there are more logistics behind that statement, which leads to a desire for expanded conversations on how to go about mobilizing medical staff. It seems semi-feasible, but I also know that there are a lot of varying illnesses and it kind of makes it seem infeasible at the same time. I’m no medical expert so I cant speak too much on this.

Tying in the Loose Ends

Above I left the password talk on a cliff hanger. Allow me to expand in this section.

The speaker stated the number of phishing attempts was simply overwhelming, and that there are many who fall prey. Two examples he gave were more recent: one being where a finance department personnel fell victim to a fraudulent invoice totaling $500,000 (that’s a lot of money), and the other was a critical ransomware attack (which started at $900,000 that the staff was able to work down to $500,000). The latter was facilitated by compromised passwords.

I’m not sure about you but I’ve received many fraudulent invoice requests of varying amounts. It’s easier for me to disregard because I know I am not in the position to handle such matters. The same cannot be said for the one who fell victim though. That said, and with such a large sum of money, employees shouldn’t blindly pay anything without checking the records. There should be a way to validate such invoices and I find it hard to believe there isn’t some sort of paper trail regarding who the hospital does business with and what’s owed to whom. If this isn’t the case, paying an excessive amount of money for an untraceable invoice is an expensive fault that needs correction.

As for the latest ransomware attack- this started Monday, August 5th, the week of Black Hat / DefCon. He got into town that night, went to sleep and was awoken early Tuesday morning with reports of a ransomware attack. Immediately he told the caller to ensure all passwords were changed and what to expect. The backups were too old tsk, tsk 0 so they were left with no choice but to negotiate and pay. The staff did this, yet they failed to change their passwords! After forking out $500k, they were hit again with the same attack Thursday of that same week because they didn’t change their passwords! Imagine that. And to make it worse, the staff agreed to change their password this time. but opted to wait until the following week to do so.

Did they? I am not sure but waiting is such a silly thing to do.

This all leads back to user training. All personnel should be trained on how to look out for phishing emails and other unsolicited emails claiming a lack of payment. The same applies with passwords uses. Reusing passwords is a no-no and with all that was said above, multi-factor authentication would definitely be worth the cost. With these two examples, that’s a fair sum of money paid, and you’d figure that change would be expected.


I would be lying if I said I’d feel comfortable going to a doctor and feeling my personal health information is safe. Obviously when you’re in a critical condition it may not mean as much at that time, your life is on the line after all, but its still a scary thought to know the gravity of just how poor hospital security allegedly is. Further, with the HIPAA violation costs, the speaker stated that hospitals are more prone on not reporting breaches and thus not getting fined. Again, these are all allegations and all I am doing is summarizing what was reported.

Tying in the whole medical device concerns with this development, change is in order. With personal information being publicized on the dark web and accessible by other threat actors, there’s no telling what they may do with that information. There was a lot more that was said in this talk and what I wrote was merely a glimpse. Its difficult to ensure your personal information is safe when you’re not the one responsible for keeping it safe. The truth is, its the doctors’ responsibility along with the medical staff and the IT team of said hospitals.


Posted by Elvis on 08/25/19 •
Section Privacy And Rights
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Monday, August 12, 2019

Fleeing America Redux 3


image: portugal

Madonna’s Welcome, But Portugal Wants Immigrants to Lift Economy

By Joao Lima, with assistance by Henrique Almeida
July 30, 2019

It’s not just the likes of Madonna and the Aga Khan that Portugal wants to attract.

Unlike many governments in Europe, Portugal wants immigrants to shore up its economy as its population shrinks and ages. While it has drawn the rich—Madonna went house hunting in Lisbon in 2017 and the Aga Khan was granted Portuguese nationality this year—the country is making a push to lure back citizens who fled the euro-area crisis and attract immigrants who can fill crucial gaps in the labor market.

"This isn’t about just any immigration; its about drawing qualified immigrants for the needs of the Portuguese economy,” said Jorge Bravo, an economics professor at the Nova University in Lisbon. “Mostly in terms of salaries, we’re not very competitive. If there was a championship for the most sought-after countries for immigration, Portugal isn’t in the Champions League.”

As Portugal prepares for a general election in October, the lack of immigrants rather than their presence may be a campaign issue for politicians. Unlike in Italy and Hungary, where the anti-immigrant parties of Matteo Salvini and Viktor Orban are in power, and France, where Marine Le Pens party led the European Parliamentary vote in May, Portugal has no populist forces at play. In fact, some of the country’s businesses want politicians to come up with coherent plans to lure immigrants.

Help Wanted

“The tourism and hospitality industry is among those feeling the shortage most acutely. Finding adequately skilled housekeeping and kitchen staff is the most complicated,” Theotonio said. He wants the government to make labor rules more flexible to accommodate temporary and seasonal workers.

“The average education level of the Portuguese has increased a lot, so its natural that in jobs such as room service or waiters there’s a lack of workers, said Raul Martins, the chairman of the Altis hotel chain and the head of Portugal’s Hotel Association, which represents about 600 hotel companies.

Tourism represents about 14% of Portugals gross domestic product and has boosted the economy, which expanded for a fifth consecutive year in 2018. That’s helped Prime Minister Antonio Costas minority Socialist government to lower the jobless rate and manage the budget deficit. Portugal’s unemployment rate of 6.6% in May was less than half of Spain’s 13.6% and below the euro-area average of 7.5%.

Hiring Troubles

Still, Portugals debt ratio remains the third-highest in the euro area, behind Greece and Italy, and to keep the growth engine chugging along the country needs more hands.

Slower Phase

The Bank of Portugal warned in a report on June 12 that ғsome indicators suggest there are difficulties for Portuguese companies to hire workers, particularly those with higher qualification levels.

The number of immigrants in Portugal increased 14% in 2018 to 480,300, the highest since at least 1976, according to its Immigration and Borders Service. That hasnԒt been enough to offset its shrinking population, which has dropped since 2010 and reached about 10.3 million at the end of 2018. Projections show it may fall to 7.9 million in 2080.

The median age in Portugal was 45.2 years in 2018, having increased by about 4.4 years since 2008. In 2017, the country had the third-highest median age in the European Union at 44.8 years, behind Italy and Germany.
Open Arms

The country’s arms are open for the Portuguese who want to return, Jose Luis Carneiro, the secretary of state for Portuguese communities, said at a July 22 presentation of measures to get citizens to come back. The government is offering up to 6,536 euros ($7,276) to returnees.

Portugal has had some success in drawing so-called non-habitual residents. Lured by its beaches, clement weather, laid-back life and, crucially, its tax breaks, almost 30,000 people have made the country their home. A third of them earn a pension overseas.

Italian actress Monica Bellucci, French fashion designer Christian Louboutin and former Manchester United Football Club player Eric Cantona are among those whoԒve bought property or are reportedly sometime-residents in Portugal.

The government has been criticized for its tax breaks to the rich. Critics also say wealthy foreigners have boosted real estate values, pricing out locals. The regime allows expatriates to pay as little as 20% on their income tax during a decade and exempts some pensioners from taxes altogether.

Like Singapore

“Retirees locally spur some sectors linked mostly to tourism and leisure, as can be seen in the Algarve, or in the cities of Lisbon and Oporto, and in small inland areas,” said Bravo. “But it’s not the solution.”

On July 23, the government expanded the regime to add farmers and machine operators to the list of eligible professions, citing difficulties in hiring workers.

Portugal needs an “intelligent immigration” policy, like in countries such as Singapore and Canada, that isn’t just based on tax incentives, Antonio Horta-Osorio, the CEO of Lloyds Banking Group Plc and a Portuguese national, said at a conference near Lisbon on May 17.

“We have an extraordinary demographic problem compared to the rest of Europe,” he said. “Portugal should work on attracting people with the qualifications and abilities that our companies and society need,” he said.


Posted by Elvis on 08/12/19 •
Section Dying America
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