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Bush, Blair In Cahoots On Hijacker Scam
First published on September 29, 2006 in InfoAve Premium Issue #154

Documents recently leaked by confidential government sources show that Tony Blair and George W. Bush collaborated on a scheme that eventually cost British and U.S. airlines and taxpayers millions of dollars; and inconvenienced the traveling public for the past three weeks by banning liquids on all flights.

Secret documents show that in July, in the face of declining polls, Blair and Bush held secret meetings at Camp David, where they ordered American and British Intelligence officials to devise a fake hijacking scenario involving a terrorist plot where liquids would be combined aboard trans-Atlantic flights and turned into bombs.

Actors were later hired to portray terrorists and were then shown being rounded up by British police, in London, last month. One of the actors, whose name is being withheld by request, confirmed these reports.

Advisors to prime minister Tony Blair and president George Bush devised the hijacking scam to reverse dramatically declining poll numbers. With the general elections not too far away, Bush in particular, needed a boost in the polls to stave off a looming Democratic bluewash in November.

American and British officials have declined comment on hijacking scam story. U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was quoted as saying she had no comment because: "there is nothing truthful in this report".

Neither Bush or Blair were available for comment today

Of course, I just made all that stuff up to make a point.

The point is that there are too many news sources these days and not enough news. We've got 24 hour news channels who now fill up the hours, not with news, but with people yelling at each other. I don't know about you but I don't like hear people arguing. It makes me nervous. And people arguing always sound dumb.

But these days, in order to get attention you really have to dig up some dirt on someone or something. Or else just make it up. Even major newspapers these days, you know the so-called "respectable" ones, are doing it with headlines which grab the reader's attention, but don't really reflect the content of the article.

The Bush/Blair story, I made up, is the sort of thing you'll find on news blogger's sites. It just pure fantasy. Thank goodness, most all outlets of the main stream media check stories before they find their way on the national news...and into our homes. Thankfully, most of the time there's some truth in the stories anyway.

But if you really want to see some wild, unsubstantiated claims and "news" stories, just browse through the news blogger's sites sometime. You'll find stories that make my Bush/Blair story look tame and authentic.

Anyway, the recent Microsoft "security flaw" made the national news. And, in hindsight, we've been had again. It was the "BIG STORY" on all the Internet news sites. This flaw was rated "critical" (the most severe rating) by security firms. And that's all it took to get the Web's anti-Microsoft coalition's tomahawks swinging and the "security sites" hearts a-thumpin'.

If you were one of those who read about this flaw on any of the Internet's news sites, you would have thought this flaw was more or less equivalent to an outbreak of smallpox on the east coast.

However, like most other news stories these days, when you really looked into it, you found the truth. Never mind that is was buried deep in the story and hard to find. Now it's not that the news sources were going to tell you, straight out. They had to be sensational and manipulate the truth. Sensationalism sells. Bashing Microsoft sells. When you combine the sensational with Microsoft bashing - you get lots of readers/viewers. Exactly what Internet news sites want. Exactly what TV networks want. And who can blame the itty-bitty "ma and pa" sites out there for playing this story to the hilt.

There's one big problem with this: the news channels, Internet news sites, and the "ma and pa" sites really roped in the viewers and they were big winners again. But whenever you have a winner, you have a loser. And the losers were you and me. But it doesn't seem fair that you and I, the 'average joes' of the world get tossed around like footballs. Again. You'd think we'd get tired of it. We never seem to catch on.

I noticed that this bit of news (about the latest Internet Explorer Security Exploit) traveled fast and far and wide. There were numerous misinformed posts made about it on our own forum (many of which we removed), and it was literally the talk of the Internet and technology news on TV for about a week. One would have thought that Microsoft had turned into a terrorist organization and was plotting to put laxative powder in our drinking water.

First of all, the Internet Explorer Security Exploit was preceded by several security warnings about the Firefox browser two weeks earlier. However, stories about Firefox, while popular, just doesn't have the oomph! that stories about Microsoft and Internet Explorer have; unless they are "good" stories - like for instance that Firefox is about to be crowned king of Bolivia. (Do they have a king down there?) What sites and news stations are out after, isn't your safety, its money. And money comes from advertisers and from getting large numbers of viewers. So the Firefox security flaws came and went without much hoopla; hardly anyone noticed. But, the Internet Explorer flaw, well that was almost news as big as the E-coli in spinach brouhaha or Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey's couch.

If you read the headlines and some of the stories, you might have thought that if Microsoft didn't patch this flaw immediately, like within hours, your first born child and all your worldly possessions were in grave danger. Even our forum was full of advice like "disabling scripting" (which leaves your browser basically crippled), don't browse the Web at all with Internet Explorer or switch to Firefox! Ummm wasn't it just a couple of weeks or so before the "critical exploit" was found in Internet Explorer that there were several flaws found in Firefox, at least one of which was rated "critical". Yes that's true. But that little bit of news didn't even evoke so much as a yawn from the Internet community. The Firefox flaws were patched within a few days and the browser hummed quietly along its little problems hardly noticed at all by the news media or you and me.

But the Internet Explorer security flaw while serious indeed, was not cause to raise the bird flu warning  flag. But you would have thought so by the reaction of people on forums, blogs, news sites, and TV news channels that your entire existence was threatened by this - and because Microsoft didn't have a patch out within a week, they were somehow the evil-doers that were getting a thrill out of watching people's computers get reamed by keyloggers, Trojans, spyware, etc..

So then came the comparisons: Firefox fixed the flaws in their browser faster than Microsoft fixed theirs. Like my dog is meaner than your dog; my brother is tougher than your brother, sort of thing.

Our Top Three Safety Tips

1. Want you computer to be 100% safe? See that plug in the wall - the power cord? Unplug it. Go turn on your TV and watch Leave It To Beaver reruns.

2. Want to be 100% while driving your car? Take the engine out. Don't leave your driveway.

3. Don't eat spinach in a bag.

Here's The Truth About The Most Recent Internet Explorer Exploit

The exploit affected a very small percentage of Internet Explorer users. It never affected the vast majority of users. Here's the real story:  If you were one of the Internet Explorer users dumb enough to visit Russian crack sites (not the drug "crack" but illegal software cracks - basically meaning pirated software) or Russian porn sites then you probably had your computer hammered by Trojans, keyloggers, and worse and you probably had some very sensitive data ripped from your machine - like credit card numbers and the like.

Well, some of you might say that people who visit those kinds of sites deserve what they get, but there are others who think personal freedom has no boundaries - and no responsibilities. But, no matter what you think, the point is that the average person using Internet Explorer (unpatched) browsing Yahoo, MSN, Google, and the "regular" sites they visit every day were never in danger. That would be the vast majority of people. So most people were never exposed to any danger even though they were using the still-unpatched Internet Explorer.

Microsoft has issued a patch for this latest exploit. And are we saying you shouldn't install it? No. You should install it, because over time, the threat probably would have spread to more and more sites - not just Russian porn and crack sites. And you inevitably would have encountered one someday, some way somewhere. You know kiddies love to play so others probably would have taken advantage of the scripts that exploited Internet Explorer.

We're not saying you shouldn't protect yourself on the Internet. We've always told you to keep your Windows up-to-date with the latest patches, updates and fixes from Microsoft. We always told you to keep your anti-virus program updated and to install and use at least two good anti-spyware programs and a firewall. But it's just a little bit over-the-top when the news organizations, news sites, and supposedly respected technical people, glom onto a story and make things seem worse than they really are - and they do this all the time. Too many news sources and not enough real news.

But scare tactics sell; they always have and always will. P.T. Barnum journalism has taken over the news.  A tidbit about Internet Explorer written by P.T. Barnum journalists in good old "scare-the-heck-out-of-the-reader style hit the web and snowball. Every tech-related forum, every tech news site, every ma and pop Windows help site, played it up. And by the time you get down being bombarded by these stories you're almost believing that the next time you turn on your computer and fire up Internet Explorer, you computer was sure to begin spewing out your credit card numbers, your underwear size, and your medical history to all sorts of miscreants. All just waiting to see what size boxers you wear. We're telling you it it ain't so. Never was so. But you could have never gotten to the bottom of the "real" story very easily. The truth was out there, buried deep in these sensationalistic P.T. Barnum articles. The truth is that the truth doesn't sell very well. Hype does. Maybe that's why we're broke.

Mayor of My Little Town Abducted By Space Aliens

Hey, did I ever tell you the story about the mayor of "my little town"? I heard she has had close encounters of the third kind. Don't raise your eyebrows! I heard some aliens came down and snatched her from her bed, took her up into their flying saucer, vacuumed her mascara off and...

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