Category: opinion

Who is Steering the Ship?

Who is Steering the Ship?

 

  • Is the captain of a company the CEO?
  • Is it the board of directors?
  • Is it the Stockholders?

I would argue yes and no.  The customer most probably guides or “tugs” your ship through the turbulent waters of the industry you are in, more than you might think.

Since the driving force is out of your complete control, can your ship stand up to the pressures of high winds or traversing into territories which are uncharted? Is there a reef ahead waiting to break the spine of your vessel? Will Sirens lure your men into a false state of complacency?

While need necessitates the possible paths that you as the captain choose to follow, the infrastructure and robust nature of your data systems will be part of the viability of your success.

Companies must be robust enough to change directions or take on more massive task as the customer demands.  As an SME in Data processing (Information Systems) and Disaster Recovery, frequently I find through the audit process that the ship is traversing the waters without a rudder, and an engine that is held together with duct tape and bailing wire.

Some of the critical problems in this industry are human nature, underperforming CIO’s, and lackadaisical staff. Other issues often include a CIO taking on the job of CFO.

Encouraged by upper management to rain in cost, the CIO might look for ways to cut the budget using poor quality sheets, and used line, taken from derelict ships that have already made their way to Davy Jones locker.

When the proverbial fork in the road or in keeping with the metaphor, when the winds change, will your company be ready?

Often, Board Members or CEO’s look at disaster recovery like insurance.  It is much more than some policy that you purchase.

When you bring in a person or company, who specializes in Disaster Recovery many things happen.

The first two are a risk analysis and an audit of how you currently do business regarding Data processing. The scope, of course, can be more than just your data processing capabilities and often it is expanded to include all functions of your company.

Depending on the size of your company and its complexity this could be a project for a consultant, or it might include one or more FTE’s that maintain your ships viability into perpetuity.

While the Risk Analysis may or may not be a surprise to you, the audit will almost certainly be a surprise.  Nobody wants someone poking around in their business.

Frequently those in charge of the department will make themselves scarce.  While weekly meetings and deliverables are a must, I often find that an audit shakes things up, and that can be a good thing.  This process also exposes any weak links in the proverbial chain.

Your IT department is a dynamic part of your company and often is the engine which drives your ship. While frequently looked at as a cost center, without it, your company I dare say would die on the vine or flounder.

In the final examination of your company, we will discover if you are ready for the next opportunity or the next fork in the road.  We might also learn that you are treading water.

When the prevailing winds shift directions, will your ship be able to adjust?

Smooth Sailing!

© All Rights Reserved 2018

Scott Taylor

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When Should You Replace Equipment and Why

When Should You Replace Equipment and Why

 

 

Today I thought I would talk about a subject that is near and dear to the hearts of most CFO’s.  Money and budgets.

 

In the IT ARENA as it were all hardware has a lifespan.

 

  • Desktops 5 years
  • Laptops 3 years
  • Tablets, PDA’s and phones about 2. *

 

HAM or Hardware Asset Management is close cousins to SAM or Software asset management.

Many that I deal with in this industry are loath to do either of these.

 

Why?

What seems so intuitive to a business minded person is out in left field to the IT Manager.

 

While most hardcore IT people will undoubtedly have the updated newest most magnificent PC at home, they will be loath to keep the hardware at work current.  Either budgetary constraints, lack of planning on their IT staff, laziness or foolishness on managements parts while keeping the dinosaurs alive.

IT is a moving target.

One of my clients was experiencing a strange anomaly on one of their machines.  I was there for other reasons, and they ask me if I had ever seen anything like it.

 

On occasion, the mouse pointer would change with some strange addition to it, making the original tip Indistinguishable from where it should be pointing.

 

Nobody has seen everything and the same is true for me.  Offering my services, as they did not have the time for this, I did the usual stuff.

After hours of doing my routine including removing the hard drive and running scans on it outside of its operating system, the problem looked more and more like hardware.  Faulty graphics adapter perhaps.

After moving the PC into the shop, the problem disappeared.

Going back to the work area where the PC was, under the desk was an old UPS.  Taking the UPS into the shop and checking it out, I soon discovered that the sine wave of 60 cycles was anything but clean and, it was not holding the right voltages even though the battery was good.   Upon further investigation, I learned that they had a routine of replacing batteries in old UPS’s and putting them back out.

Putting a new ups under the ladies desk, solved the problem.  It was a $79 solution which should have been automatic.

I don’t want to go into the weeds here, but electronics have a lifespan.  Things called MOV’s for one (metal oxide Varistor) are sacrificial devices that are designed to clamp power spikes keeping them from going downstream, in this case, into your PC and monitor.  They have a finite lifespan.

UPS’s or Uninterruptable power supplies are insurance.  When the battery dies, replace them.

Recycle them after you remove the battery and dispose of it accordingly.   I would bet that all over every office building they have surge protectors that are no longer functioning.  For the same reason, they too have an MOV across the 120V AC line.  They die!

I have written about PC’s lifespan before, so I don’t want to repeat myself.

Hardware Asset Management protects the company in many ways.

You should never put an old machine at someone desk having them limp by with a clunker when they need a Corvette. The software today is memory and CPU intensive with the ever growing demands of anti-virus software and the numerous updates, it is worse.

Soft dollars are real.  If you have employees that cannot work because their network is down, that is real money!

Employing a good software deployment strategy along with keeping the same model of machine in the business is wise, and worth looking into.

Software and Hardware management are critical pieces of a business strategy.

One client I had, bought whatever was on sale on New Egg.  Support was a bloody nightmare and oh by the way, why do you think it is on sale?

Always purchase from a VAR, and build that relationship with them.  You may need them one day!

Leasing vs. owning is worth looking into for many reasons.  Bottom line, you change out the PC’s every few years, and you get the same PC to support throughout the company.

The clunkers end up on eBay and eventually, someone somewhere will be playing solitaire on it.   Today’s Corvettes are tomorrow Clunkers, simple truth! 

Depending on the size of your company software licensing needs to be evaluated and care taken to make sure that you are in compliance. An enterprise license is excellent to have if you are large enough. Software and licensing are evolving daily it seems, with lease being the operative word.  Subscription services much like antivirus software is commonplace, ensuring a revenue stream for the developers.

Gone are the days of buying a box of software with a few floppy disk and using it forever.

I was visiting some friend when I saw an old 486 computer sitting on his mother’s desk.

My first computer was a Kaypro, and I went through the 8088 @4.7 mhz to GHz and beyond.  To see the old 486 running with Solitaire on the screen and windows version three, you could see the mindset and how it evolved.

I recently trashed (recycled) a bin full of disks with programs, backups, and god only knows what all.  The next week I tossed an entire bookshelf full of technical books from Novell to MSCE windows NT stuff.  Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours studying in the bin.  SAD

Your PC is not too dissimilar from your car.  You don’t buy it as a thing but as a resource. When your vehicle starts to spend more time in the shop than on the road, you trade it in.  The same is true of your PC, Laptop and the rest.

Somewhere in my closet I still have a 16mg stick of memory that I paid over $500 for back in the early 80’s.  $500 back then was a lot of cash.  The stick of memory is nothing.  What it did for me was why I bought it.

If you are not connected to the internet as long as you can keep your 486 running, and it does what you need it to do, it is viable.  If you still have a copy of lotus 123, you too can relive the days of / .. 🙂

 

*  2 years on the average portable device is recommended because they are portable, and often dropped.  If you budget 2 years, you can indeed budget correctly.

 

If you find my blogs helpful or entertaining, please follow me.

 

-Best

“What is one to do, shoot someone for $200?”

“What is one to do, shoot someone for $200?”

 

A recent post on a neighborhood blog elicited this response from me.  The man had some tools taken from his truck in his driveway and was upset.  He asked the question, what is one to do, shoot someone for taking my tools?

 

Here is my response to him and I think germane enough to share with you, good folks.

 

You (he) asks a good question.  “What am I to do, shoot someone for $200?”

Firstly, shooting someone for any reason will affect your life forever.  My litmus test is “Am I genuinely afraid for my life, or those lives of my family?”

If I am genuinely afraid, then the rest of this is a mute point.  Carried by six, judged by twelve, simple math really. 

The opioid epidemic is probably responsible for the increase in small crimes like this, as fewer and fewer doctors are now prescribing these types of “legal” drugs   Legal or not, people are addicted to them and addictions will cause some to sell their mother into slavery for them.  If they cannot get them legally, they will get them on the street.

That in and of itself might solve some of the addiction issues, as what they get on the street might very well end their suffering, permanently.  Not my wish or desire, just simple facts. Truth told they know the risk too and will do it anyway.  That should tell you something about their state of mind, and the risk they will take for a few tools from your truck.

Balancing petty crimes against lethal force is a tough call.  So what is one to do?

In this day and age, we have many tools at our disposal.

Alarm your vehicle.  Mine is set to lock and arm after 45 seconds, should a family member, or I forget.

“Viper Alarm from Car Toys.”

Keep your valuables out of sight.

Brand your tools or other valuables so that a pawn shop will not be interested in them.

Ring.com  makes some not too expensive devices like the floodlight cam and the doorbell.

Both are easy installs for the average homeowner.

That video goes up to the cloud and stays there for some time. In case your home is vandalized the evidence is not where the criminal can get to it.

  • You said you heard them, Dial 911
  • Turn on lights, so they know that you heard them.
  • With the Ring floodlight cam, there is a siren that you can set off.  Noises are not what they want.
  • Open your window and set off an air horn if nothing else.  Yell at them telling them the cops are on the way!  I would not use Uncle Joe’s advice about touching off your shotgun in the air.  Noise is the right idea, just not shotguns.

I would imagine that smash and grab is their ideal way to work so sound and lights will alert your neighbors as well.  Usually, they work in pairs. Getting a plate for the cops is a very good idea. Any information is valuable.  Many have cameras set up to watch the streets and alleys.  Talk to your neighbors and see if they captured anything.

If you were to go out there with your shotgun or another deadly force weapon you might very well be surprised to find that you are now in harm’s way as they had a partner.  If on the other hand, you were to injure them or kill them, some subhuman life form of a lawyer would find any family members that they had and represent them on a contingency basis to sue you civilly.   Pictures of the dead or injured person from his or her days in church, scouts, the soccer field as a 12-year-old, or as a family member and good dad or mom would adorn the courtroom.  They would paint this person as the ideal person having them appear the saint, and you the angry old curmudgeon without any heart, hell-bent on killing people with your mean old gun.  If the perp is or was a different race or gender than you, that too will factor into swaying the jury that you are now a racist or a sexist or both.

If you cannot afford a lawyer, they might very well get a judgment against you.  It is relatively simple to emotionally manipulate a jury.  This would then cost much more than a few hundred dollars in tools. As it is a civil case and not a criminal case, no free Lawyers for you.

If you can afford one and you had best be able to, it will cost you no less than $5K on a no bill.  The process will go on for months, and it will consume you.

“What is one to do?” You asked

Good luck, I hope that you or our neighbors find some of this information helpful….

Full disclosure, I have no vested interest in any of the products or companies mentioned. I also do not believe that all lawyers are sub-human life forms. 🙂

 

-Best

https://drugabuse.com/

https://ring.com/

https://www.viper.com/

 

Ready, Fire …Aim

Ready, Fire …Aim

After the recent storms, one might have guessed that my phone has been busy.  Firstly let me say that Disaster Recovery by its very title is a bit of a misnomer.  While I have some abilities to recover lost data using some forensic skills developed over decades of twiddling bits, that is not really disaster recovery.

Disaster Recovery and business continuity are about planning for an event which may or may not happen.  The “plan” assumes that your business systems will be affected negatively and puts forth a tested strategy to recover from the said event.

With the recent devastation by hurricanes and earthquakes, one would think that those businesses not affected would be learning from those that were.  If you search my blogs on this site, you will see that I have laid out

Do not ask him or her, are we covered just in case, ask them specific questions laid out in this blog here.

Yes is not a satisfactory answer, demand the details and the proof.  I don’t care how much of a friend he or she is, demand the evidence.  The devil is in the details, and the last thing you want is a bunch of excuses.

I am learning from phone calls that too many have been assured that they are covered, and that is very possibly why today they are looking for ways to recover data from destroyed equipment.

Disaster recovery is not some dark magic spell cast under the voodoo magic of bits and bytes in the wiring closet or back part of the computer room.  The bottom line is to test it, whatever your people come up with, check it.  Keep checking it until you can recover your business with outside contractors and hardware with data and documents prepared by your staff.  There is to be no input from you or your staff during the test.  The hurricane, earthquake, fire, attack from zombies or employee error took you and them away from the scene. The plan provided must work!

This is why we who do this insist that companies use “best practice” standards in the industry when creating your individual networks and systems.

One such company has a senior IT staff littered with programmers.  These people think they know more than Microsoft.  Using kludges from Unix, Linux and other programming wizardry to subvert some of the basic tenants of networking, they have made their network so unique that it will depend on them to be there to recover.

If it is not broken, don’t fix it!

Writing programs that workaround things like DNS is just crazy stuff and now it is dependent on the network never changing, at all.

If your data is successfully mirrored offsite, an excellent team of engineers might get you going in weeks, not days if you have failed to follow best practices.  While your data might eventually be usable, you and your company will be on the sidelines as most businesses do not recover from such a catastrophe.

Folks I have been at this since 1982, I have learned a thing or two in those years.  Ask your team the questions or be prepared for unpleasant surprises should you ever face a business stopping event.

Got to go and explain once again what disaster recovery is and is not.

-Best

Are we cooking ourselves? Here is some food for thought.

Are we cooking ourselves? Here is some food for thought.

 

As a technology minded person, I often wondered about those who design cordless devices.  In particular, I am addressing phones.  I assume some government agency somewhere spent millions of your tax dollars to come up with what someone thinks are safe levels of radiation.

Maybe these people know more than the rest of us, or maybe they don’t.

Case in point.

The standard cordless phone in 2017 most probably transmits to the base either at 900 MHz or 2.4 GHz.  While your phone may advertise the higher frequency of 5.4 GHz that is most probably from the base to the phone.

Split frequency designs like this are prudent as it takes more power to transmit higher frequencies.

Now, these cell phones that we all carry around transmit either in the 850 MHz range or 1.8 ~1.9 GHz range.

MHz (Mega Hertz) stands for millions of cycles per second,  GHz is (Giga Hertz) or billions of cycles per second.  So every second depending upon the frequency, the RF (radio frequency) cycles millions or billions of time.  IE 2.4 GHz is 2 billion, four hundred million, cycles per second.

Frequency should not be confused or conflated with power.

Power for our conversation today is watts.  How much power or how many watts of RF (radio frequency) are we talking about?

Cell phones transmit up to 1.7 watts of power.

Cordless phones transmit as much and possibly more than a cell phone.  The interesting aspect of this is there is this DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology that has been around for a little while now.  They sell it as a plus but European studies have shown this might be more hazardous to your health than its predecessor.

The base of this technology is transmitting full power all the time whether your phone is in use or not. If the base is next to your bed or on your desk you are constantly bombarded with 5.4 GHz or at the least 2.4 GHz of radiated power in the form of RF.

Move it away from your body.

Why am I writing about this?

Ever since the first cell phones came out I wondered what they were doing and why.  These phones are always talking to the cell towers announcing their availability and telling them where they are while checking in.  The phone was and is smart enough to adjust its power level depending upon what is needed to communicate with the tower effectively.  The reasons are many but the main idea is to “talk” with one cell tower at a time.

My phone, even today will often time be warm in my pocket, or just sitting on the desk.

While we really have no idea what a smartphone is doing all the time, you can bet if it is warm, it is transmitting something.

IMG_4513

I built this little device with a few diodes.  I will not belabor the technical aspects of this device other than to say it does not have any batteries.  These devices are passive in that the only way that they are energized would be by outside energy fields or EM (electromagnetic) forces.

I got the idea from the crystal radio of my youth.  Yes, I built one and housed it inside a pen casing.  With a single diode and a coil and very little know how I had a radio that would pick up local radio stations and never needed a battery.

Since my original device that I designed and built years ago, I found this version on the internet for a few dollars.

Setting this thing on top of my phone it soon became obvious that the cell phone is transmitting constantly.

  • Is it looking for data?
  • Is the phone talking to the tower?
  • Is the phone talking to my Wi-Fi network?

The answer is yes.  We really have no idea if the phone is doing anything else in the (tin foil hat category).

Now with 1.7 watts of RF at 2GHz, give or take, right next to your ear hole, one has to wonder if that is healthy.

Out of curiosity, I moved my device around the phone to discover that the most of the radiation or highest amounts come out of the phone right by the earpiece.  Why?

Knowing RF and the possible link to brain tumors, lymphoma and other nasty things why would the engineers put the transmitting antenna where it would be closest to your head?

This is the iPhone 6S.

IMG_4506

My curiosity got the best of me so I checked my cordless phones.

IMG_4513

The light powered strictly by RF from the phone is very bright, right on the ear hole and down by the mouthpiece, the light, or power output is nonexistent.

IMG_4510

Imagine that your phone has enough RF power to illuminate an LED to full intensity and that energy is being pumped into your head right through your ear hole and of course next to your skull.

Tell me; why in the hell would you not put the antenna at the base of the phone where it would be furthest away from the body/brain?  The energy required to light the led dissipates with distance.  Logic would dictate that the less energy radiated close to your brain would be a good thing.

The pictures speak for themselves but now you know what you are looking at.

What can we do?

First off, we should ask the government for our money back that they paid for these studies.  One would think that if they can come up with SAR (specific absorption rate) and what is safe that just maybe they might have said, “you know, you phone makers should place the transmitter/antenna away from their brains.”

It is kind of like that commercial where the bank is being robbed and the guard says, “Oh I am not a guard, just a monitor… you are being robbed.”  What good is the FCC if they cannot think outside the box? The government, which they are part of, is to protect its citizens from faulty designs, much like the Corvair of the 60’s.  Where is Ralph Nader these days?

It is amazing to me that they did scientific studies to figure out how much tissue would cook or be damaged by rf.  Then they came up with the acronym SAR and finally did nothing more about it.  “Look for a phone with a low SAR rating.”  Are there labels, using this phone can cause brain cancer?”

What is so germane about 2.4 GHz and why am I sounding a little stressed about this?

That box in your kitchen that burns popcorn so nicely happens to work in that same frequency range.

Since there are millions of microwave ovens out there the FCC put broadband Wi-Fi, cordless phones, and many other unlicensed transmitters that the public uses in that same frequency range as the microwave oven.   Part of your license on each piece of equipment reads something to the effect that this device must accept and deal with  RFI or radiofrequency interference.

How does the microwave oven work and what does that have to do with my phone?

Microwave energy excites the molecules in stuff causing them to move faster.  Much like rubbing your hands together you get friction which causes heat.  That is how a microwave heats your lean cuisine dinner or left-overs from Sunday Brunch.  Yes it uses more power but I ask you, would you stick your head in your microwave to see how long it takes to fry your brains?  Consider the cell phone or cordless phone like a microwave crock pot, it might take longer but eventually, something is bound to be heated up.

Just for you people who think that I am a tin foil hat kind of person think of this one. 

How many of our urchins you call grade schoolers now have the very latest iPhone sticking out of the back pocket.  A trip to any mall will answer this question.  Even if it is a hand me down generation 5, it puts out all sorts of power right next to that thinner more malleable skull and younger more tender, still forming brain tissue.

Then there is this whole blood brain barrier thing that doctors talk about.  Does it really seem like a wise idea to put that kind of power that close to those newly formed brain cells?  They are future tax payers you know. Wink wink…

Possibly one of them will say, “someone should really put the transmitter in the base of this thing away from my brain.” Will it take a child to figure this out?  Maybe a riot on the Berkly campus to get the attention of corporate america who might tend to overlook such things.

I know, I am gettin my tin foil out… 

With telecommunications being a multi-trillion dollar industry it is no wonder that this is overlooked.  Much like the back scatter x-ray porn scanners at the airport which virtually strip search you, there is a greater good.  Bombarding our bodies with ionizing radiation is not harmful as long as the government says that it is ok. (sarcasm)

Calling attention to it might cost Nokia or Apple or Panasonic a few dollars.  What is the big deal about a few brain tumors, “can you hear me now?”

Since industry will probably not respond, how can you protect yourself?

Blue Tooth technology also uses RF in the same 2.4 GHz range but the power is very low.  A class one transmitter uses about 1mw or Millie Watt.  There is a newer headset that wraps around your neck with the earpiece extending from them.  That would put the blue tooth transceiver around your neck away from your brain.

Try to always use a headset or speakerphone, and if they still have them, a corded phone.

Use e-mail or text and by all means try talking to people face to face.  I know that is a radical concept but, I don’t think you are in danger of getting exposed to radiation that way.

About the device…

While the original crystal radio of my day used a 1N34 germanium diode this device uses nine 1SS86 diodes one tied to the other with an LED as one of the diodes.  The legs are purposefully left long like that as they act as the antenna to capture any energy that might be present.

If you are creative you could make it look like a bug with a tail and a head that glowed.  Just a thought.

I am not claiming to be an expert on any of this.  Just a person who thinks common sense is in limited supply.  These days we too readily accept that which is, without asking why.  Ask Why!

Cheers!

Scott

 

What If?

What If?

Every day someone finds something.  This day was no exception.  The more creative the attack the more interesting the day.  If you call that number they try to get you to give them $199.00 to unlock your computer.

You can send me some money if you like but, here is the fix for this…

CTL ALT DEL , task manager, kill the process, aka browser and then do not restore the page when you reload the browser.

I am not affiliated with CCleaner but I sell a heck of a lot of it for them.  Install it and let it clean your browser after every use.  $25 a year and damn well worth it!

As one might use an explicative to emphasize a point, I often use a somewhat tawdry analogy for this purpose.  Surfing the web with inadequate anti-virus software is like “hooking up with a stranger” without using protection.   Not only is it idiotic, but dangerous!

Having been in Data Processing, or the IT business since before Steve Jobs or Bill Gates was a household name, I know a thing or two.  The scars on my back are from arrows taken in the trenches of digital mayhem. This bedlam was caused by such things as bosses wanting to be on the bleeding edge, to software not ready for prime time, been there done that.

Free antivirus software is not worth what you pay for it!  

The best security software is going to have a price or cost to it.  Why?  It takes many engineers, coders, and much research to create and maintain a massive program like anti-virus software.  Who is going to do that for free?  More importantly, why?

While someone might write an app for free, to get their name out there; anti-virus software takes a village.

Much like hiring someone to sell your home, you don’t hire someone who does it part-time or as a hobby. If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.  If you want to sell your home, hire someone who’s lively hood depends upon them being successful.  You want a secure computer, hire or purchase the product with the most to lose if it fails.

There is much more to the process of considering which product to purchase but, free is not a reason.  I would argue that free is a cause to eliminate that choice.

The reality is that the internet has become the wild west.  The bullet that finds you can come from almost anywhere. Every company that uses computers should have a security officer.  His or her job should be to focus their attention on threats out there and the best way to keep them from affecting that company.

I find it surprising that politicians are screaming about Russian hacking of our computers.  What the hell do you expect?  You just assume that someone with a certification gives a damn!?

What worked in 1982 does not work now.  Having a “PC Wizard, or your grandchildren” working for you is tantamount to a trapeze act, blindfolded and working without a net.  Insurance companies and credit card companies are now aware of this and demanding your strategies to be secure in the world of cyber threats.  They should audit you, and they should hire folks like me who know what to look for.

White Hat hacking allows us an inside look at what one might expect.  We learn many ways to infiltrate a company.  The same applies to the TSA in homeland security.  While I would probably choose a job to be that guy that test the security systems of the homeland, airports and such, it is much easier to check companies.

The first thing I must do is understand you.  More importantly, know that entity many of us in the biz call “users.”

Too many infiltrations are accomplished with something called click bait.   “Ten pictures that should never have been made public…” With half a picture of some scantily clad woman visible, how many will click?

Human nature dictates men will want to see what the camera saw. “Boom, you’re infected.”

Good antivirus software will stop any activity created by software manipulation but, the caveat or keyword there is “good.”  What if you bought the bargain basement software or just used the free stuff?

For the coders to write the fix, someone must fall prey to it, report it, and then they must institute a fix.  That is why Software of this type is never static.  Updates are consistent and often.  New threats are released hourly.  To run a company dedicated to this is no small task.

Maybe you own a plant which produces widgets.  Your widgets are better than others, and your competition wants the skinny.  You hired someone like me for your IT manager or CIO so they cannot get in through your firewalls.  Your safe, or so you think.  Industrial espionage is rife in the competitive world of gadgets and widgets.  If I want in bad enough, I will contract one of my guys to write a program that will hide on a computer until certain key phrases are typed, and then it will activate.

“Wait, you said my firewall is secure, Fort Knox secure!”

“Why yes I did, so I am going to place this little program on a thumb drive and…I am going to put some naughty pictures on it with some commercial looking writing on the outside of the device to make the person who picks it up from the parking lot where I dropped it, think that they have something juicy.”

Possibly just tossing a thumb drive out the window of my car near the parking lot with a few files on it, and the Trojan would be enough to get me into your network.  I will purchase some chrome colored or fancy looking thumb drive to be sure that it is spotted.  I will know when the landscape folks work, so I make sure and plant it after they have done their thing so that one of your employees will find it.

Maybe I send one of my spies out to places that your guys eat and leave the drive on the table by the ashtray or the salt and pepper shaker at the table they eat every week on a given day and time.

Possibly I get one of my people inside your company, hired by you.  They install some remotely controlled program like Team Viewer on their PC and Viola; you are hacked.

Because your IT guy is so sure that his firewall is good enough, or your engineers are so demanding that he left the USB ports open for use by them, with lax policies he leaves your company vulnerable too.

How do we stop the threats?

One way we do this is with training.  Every employee should sit through CE training on the essential use of the corporate computers.  This is information that they can bring home and share.  Education is by far the best tool one can have in their arsenal.

All of the policies are trumpeted for them to hear and before they leave they sign a document saying they will adhere to them.  With it harder and harder to fire people these days, that too is one more tool in your belt.  Good employees, you want to keep, those that prove lacking, they need to go.

I could easily make the argument that good computing practices are patriotic.  I could certainly apply this to purchasing respectable anti-virus software and creating policies and procedures that protect your business but, the bottom line is, in the end, it will save the company money.

I was making this argument to a CEO of a good-sized company when he stopped me and said, but viruses help your bottom line too.

I argued that I would much rather use my time and talents to design safe environments for companies like his than put out fires.   It is considerably less expensive to install a good fire retardant system then to try and rebuild.  Yes, a metaphor for using robust best practice standards in computing vs. reacting to noise.

Noise is the result of a problem created by an event that was unplanned or caused by employee error.

A good security person is somewhat paranoid and is always asking, what if?  I do this in disaster recovery scenarios balancing those “what if’s” against statistics and a risks assessment.

With proper education, we can mitigate the employee errors.  Using proper procedures and policies, we can diminish the unplanned events, i.e. viruses or other malicious code.

When I run into companies that think free antivirus software is adequate, it makes me a little crazy.  If they are a public company, trust me, I will not purchase their stock.  Flirting with disaster out of sheer frugality or ignorance is idiotic.

If you keep your guys around because you like them, think again.  I may love some folks, but I would not hire them for certain positions if I could find someone better.  I don’t have to like you, for you to work for me.  If you are the best person for the job, you get the job.  P&L trumps feelings!  Feelings can be costly and can be a liability.  Logic in business is your ally.  Logic must always be forefront when making business decisions.

I have walked away from companies who have their kids working for them.  By hiring the children, you open yourself up to losses that could be untold.  One company had their children not doing the paperwork necessary to complete the task, thus losing money in that department.  Hiring me to do an analysis, it did not take long to find the problem.  I fired her children after trying to work with them.  I kid you not one of them actually cried in my office after telling him time after time he must do all of the job.  A grown man crying!  There is no crying in IT.  Either perform the work or get the hell out!  Either do all of the job or learn to ask, “Do you want fries with that?”   Is that too tough?  I felt for the kid but, feelings do not dictate policy.

Do your kids a favor and don’t hire them.  The real world does not work that way so why in the world handicap them, and make them believe that it does?

Over the years there are best practices that have been created by time trusted procedures and policies.

Some are things like:

  • Hardware Asset management.
  • Software Asset Management
  • Security both physical and digital

I could write a book on the subject, but I will spare you the details.

Today, now more than ever we must harden our networks.  We must have sound policies and procedures in place, and they must be adhered to.  Documentation is essential, and it must be updated.

I don’t relish firing people but, sometimes their people are the problem, and the CEO is so far removed from the process they just don’t know it.  If training can fix it, I am all for it.  Attitude too plays a crucial role in the process, and I will not tolerate a crappy attitude.  Life is too short, and the subject matter is too important.

I love the HR folks because often they are the gatekeepers, saving the CEO from disaster.  Good HR folks are worth their weight in silver.  Gold, maybe not, so let’s stick with silver. Worthy people are not that hard to find as many would have you believe.  Upright people are around, but they may not have everything that you are looking for immediately.

Instant gratification is an expensive luxury and can be elusive at best.  Where employees are concerned, I want to start with a “good foundation.”

We place certifications above character, and that is part of our modern day conundrum.

I hired a grocery store manager and trained him for a job in IT.  He had little experience in the job I hired him for, so why did I hire him?

He had the right attitude and wanted to learn.

I had the time to train him.

The money used for training him was penny’s compared to hiring exactly what I was looking for.

He did not have the bad habits that come with so many “experts”  with the certifications, and their egos.

He ran a grocery store and let me tell you; he was not afraid of work!

Back in the day, we had interns or apprentices.  Folks, we need to look carefully at that once again.  I have hired many over the years that had the right attitude and the skill set to learn.  American people are out there struggling, and we won’t give them a chance.  Why?  Instant gratification.  We need someone who can step into the job right now, and we run with minimum employees because of what?  Because it is so expensive to have employees.

That is one of the things we need to push back on Congress and health care to fix, but the reality is, internships and apprentices I think are essential to finding and creating good employees.

Every job fair that I go to has thousands of workers looking for work.  If you can’t find them, you are not looking!  I spot good employees daily.  There are times I would love to go work for a recruiter just because I can spot talent!

Are they the exact racehorse ready for the Derby today?  Maybe not, but can they be trained?  There are virtual diamonds in the rough everywhere, looking for a chance! We are begging to bring in more H1B folks instead of taking care of our own.  That is not very damned patriotic if you ask me!

Our schools are a disaster in my opinion.  In speaking with college graduates today, I am frequently amazed at just how ignorant and totally out of touch with reality that they are.  Someone somewhere screwed them to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for an education that is worthless.  When they think voting for a socialist is a good idea, they were screwed by their college and should demand their money back!

Today we have kids tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and they cannot find a job.  I know of several college grades making much less than $15 an hour.  Our educational system needs an overhaul.

As quickly as a company can get a process documented and packaged, they send it overseas via a VPN over the internet, sending jobs out of the country.

Trades are being overlooked for white collar jobs which are going the same way.  IT jobs are vanishing in the states.  Virtual IT shops are set up in some foreign country, hiring an English speaking American to act as a liaison between them and their Indian or other counterparts.  With an American point of contact, it is then up to the American to manage the folks in another country who speak little English, making little money, to be the IT shop for these American companies.  This same person puts an American face on their business while working with their client managing the “noise.”

“Do you see any security risk there?”

You have no clue where your intellectual property is going or who is seeing it.  Maybe you have a contract but so what.  Much like HIPAA was created to protect your health information, do you honestly feel as if your information is secure?  If you do, you are fooling yourself.  Read the documents you sign when you visit the doctor.  You sign things saying that your information is protected and then you sign a document which pretty much gives them a pass to do whatever they want to do with your information.  Smoke and mirrors.

Doctors and hospitals are hacked and the information is stolen all too often.  Why?  How?  Piss poor planning on someone’s part. Using some cheap method to get things done perhaps?

Your contract with your Virtual IT company is as worthless as the paper it was printed on.  Yes, that deal might make you feel better but, know if you are a developer, someone in some other country has your work and if they can use it, they will.

I want to touch on Software Asset Management as it is germane to this subject.  All of the subjects are salient, but that one, in particular, is in the case of security.

There are tools which you can use to inventory every program on every PC.  Why?  Why would you want to do this?

Licensing of software is an issue, but more importantly, you should want to know what is on those PCs.  The first time I did this for a company I was struck with the reality of the sheer number of programs designed for remote control of a PC, that was active.

In this world we live in, corporations can ill afford to have the wild west inside their computer networks.  Besides the games and other foolishness that was identified, the risk to the infrastructure was phenomenal. The company is liable for every program on their PC’s, no matter who put it there.  If they are audited for their licenses, and someone like myself does an audit and finds them, they must then produce that license.  Can you?  Can you put your hands on all of your licenses?

Ignorance is no excuse!

Having been part of the evolution of the business process, dating back to the secretary and the typewriter to current day, I have seen the learning curve first hand.  Fighting the first virus on a network before there was anti-virus software; asking “what if” became second nature.

Back when Gregg shorthand was used, a business letter cost an average of $100.00 back then.  Now we type out e-mails with the ease of few keystrokes and dictation is a thing of history.  Technology has improved the business process, but the bad guys have found a way to make it interesting.

The very tools we use to make our lives easier are under constant threat by evil forces that look for ways to extort money or steal your property either through the exploitation of your network, or your employees themselves.

We use the cloud as if it were a hard drive in some vault in our closet.  We send information to the cloud without a clue where the cloud is and who has access to it.  Why we don’t encrypt that data before it leaves our computers is beyond me.  If I were a villain, I would be looking for ways to infiltrate the “cloud.”

“What if?”

The opinions expressed are my own as well as the intellectual value of the information put forth for your consumption.

© All Rights Reserved 2017

 

If Paul ran for office, would we vote for him? @realdonaldtrump

If Paul ran for office, would we vote for him? @realdonaldtrump

 

Political discourse in this country, as I suspect in many others, is rife with opinions, hate, and discontent.  Some with a passing understanding of the facts speak out as those who are heavily vested in the process.  Many, like Armchair quarterbacks in our lazy boys we scream at the TV or our friends on social media.

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The disconnect is that depending on what part of the country you are in influences your opinions.

East and west coast alike are more liberal and have a definite liberal bias in the news, radio programs, and newspapers and of course the mega elite who live in the Ivory towers of Hollywood. We hold them up there; they are Gods don’t you know?  Because they are either genetically gifted with looks, or symmetry and have learned to emote when they talk, we believe them to be as their characters on our favorite movie or TV show.  They are so wise in that they must certainly know of what they speak!

 

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I am certain that she knows about all the issues… not!

 

 

Politicians wise to the ways of the world, hob knob with these Gods as they want to be accepted, so they will talk nicely about them.  Comedians also take on the liberal biased as they too are influenced by some politicians who wield power and might; with their pen and phone.

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Politicians will spend vast fortunes of their own money to get the vote of the people as once there; it can be a lifetime job where suddenly the rules and laws that the little people must deal with, do not apply to them.

 

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It does make a difference ….

 

 

Evangelicals are looking for Jesus to run for office.  They might dispute that, but they are.  The problem is, even if Jesus came back and ran, I doubt few would actually vote for him because he was the son of a Carpenter, and his mother became pregnant before she was legally married.

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Twenty-Six Million evangelicals stayed home in 2012 because the idea of a Mormon in the White House was unfathomable.  How did that work out for you?

 

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Wonder how many of these he sold?

 

Today we have “conservatives talk show host.” bashing Trump because of things that he did as a businessman.  Some of their allegations are true, most are out of context or flat out falsehoods concocted by those that study and practice political science and social engineering.

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A perfect example of that was the nude photo of Trump’s wife on the cover GQ magazine sent to all of the voters in Utah, telling them that this was their “first lady.”  “Smarmy attacks like this “not to pick on the Mormons, will work because they will vote their conscience.   They did, and the sycophantic lawyer won by a landslide! They were played like a Steinway!  In her defense, she was a model back then and a damned fine one!  She speaks five different languages and is a successful business person in her own right!

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Next First Lady

Now we are being played.  We have Evangelical leaders listening to other leaders talking about things in Trump’s past that may or may not be true. They are telling their followers to vote their conscience after dissing Trump.

The last thing I read said that no matter who won, the world will still keep spinning, the country will still go on, not to worry, just vote for someone you will not feel badly about casting your vote for.

If I ever doubted that the devil was real, this is where I would have clear evidence that he is real and active.

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If you vote for anyone other than Trump, you are voting for Hillary.  Independents are there to funnel votes from Trump.  Hillary is such a corrupt, candidate that she has to pander to those who are only looking out for what is in it for them.  What is my vote worth to you?

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She has peaked out, so her strategy must be to take votes away from Trump, anyway that she can.

 

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Do you really think this guy has a chance in hell? 

 

Established politicians know if Trump is elected that their gravy train of $600 hammers sold by their brother-in-laws is over.  They would rather support the devil for their fortunes on earth than do what is right for the country!

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Is Trump the perfect candidate?

“No.”

Is Hillary a better candidate? Only for the State Pen.  She is, in fact, the first person to run for the office of president that could not pass a standard background check.

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If Paul came and ran, would you vote for him knowing his baggage?

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Wise up and do the right thing!

 

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#RNC Recap @realdonaldtrump

#RNC Recap @realdonaldtrump

 

During the RNC I expected what we saw.  Those that were for America, and those who were there for themselves.

The candidates that supported Trump are for the party, country and let’s face it, you!

Those with bruised egos were in it for themselves, to begin with.

Trump gave Ted a chance to redeem himself, set him up for a possible run later, (he is young) and he blew it.  There will be a few that agree with him, but there are a number of folks who are voting for Hillary in spite of the fact that she should be in jail!

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“Vote your conscience???”  During the debate, Hillary was the person to beat no matter the cost, now it is, “it ain’t me, I don’t care, let Hillary win..????”  Ted, I think you let a lot of folks down!  Your excuse was so damned lame it was pathetic!

You signed a pledge Ted, a man’s word is his bond!

With this much at stake Ted, you come in front of 50 million people and basically tell them that you are picking up your marbles and leaving!

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Politics is a rough and tumble game sport.  If your skin is that thin, I suggest you go be a professor somewhere, where you will have an audience that has to listen to your whiny rhetoric.  You sent a naked picture of his wife to all of the voters in Utah!  I think if anyone had a right to a grudge, it was Trump!

 

Politics is a big boy game, stay out of the deep end!

 

This race is a binary race.  Vote for Trump or Hillary, any other vote is for Hillary and that includes sitting at home.   The race is inherently rigged for the democrats to begin with.   With activist judges allowing the dead to vote, multiple times, well you get the point.

 

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You should probably have Bernie run third party; this guy is polling pretty badly…

 

Some are calling for the libertarian candidate who will siphon more votes from the evangelicals who are drinking the Koolaid of the liberal media.  Hillary is spending over a Billion Dollars in smear tactics to besmirch Trump.  She is targeting the evangelicals much like Ted did in Utah.  It is not her game to gain more voters but to take them from Trump, much like it was Cruze, Kasich, and others tried to steal the primary from Trump with lawyer tactics and last minute rule changes.

 

Evangelicals will not vote for her so, making Trump look like Hitler or Satan or pick your villain is her strategy.  Fear mongering will most certainly come into play as few follow this stuff, and many get their news from comedy central or MSNBC…same thing!

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MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow, left, Lawrence O’Donnell, center, and Chris Matthews take part in a panel discussion at the NBC Universal summer press tour, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

In 2012 Evangelicals stayed home, and Romney lost.  26 million of them could not stomach a Mormon in the White House, so they stayed home.  Hillary and her minions will do their best to target them again.

It is rather interesting that the Evangelicals who preach “judge not” could not bring themselves to vote for a  Mormon.  Do you actually look at that Bible or do you just simply dress nicely on Sunday and let everyone see how pretty your are?

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I am glad that Jesus is not as judgmental as some of his followers, we might have a problem.

 

The propaganda is flying all over social media with “friends looking surprised by what they are reading.”  They are surprised because they are drinking the Koolaid!  It is unsubstantiated facts and outright lies, and people read and say things like “WOW, JUST WOW!”   There is your first clue lassie; it is probably all make believe!

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John and Ted were a disappointment, but at least they are not the candidate, Bush was never a contender; it just took him a little longer to figure it out, maybe his battery was low.

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The primary is for vetting the candidates, the people have spoken.  The General should be lively as we run that last lap of this race.  It should be interesting to see how the Hillary camp spins her lies and how much more this administration will do to protect her!

 

-Best

 

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My Two Cents

Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

Pioneer deceleration problem, My take. #space #time

 

In 1992, we launched Pioneer 10, which is leaving the solar system.  As it reaches further away from the sun, it has begun to decelerate.

Scientists believe to have discovered the solution.  They are proposing that particles leaving the spacecraft as heat are pushing against the forward momentum of the craft slowing it.

“I beg to differ.”

Using the good old formula F=MA, that simply does not seem to add up.

I read about this anomaly years ago and have noodled the issue for, well years.

 

Time is not a constant.

We here on earth think of time as purely a linear progression that we measure with clocks, watches, and calendars.

For years we have all seen the model of the solar system on a green grid with the sun, planets and other bodies all warping the fabric of space as they “fall” in their respective orbits.

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Picture the solar system not on a horizontal plane but inside a bubble.  Maybe it is an oblong bubble and not a perfect sphere but a bubble never the less.

Now picture the other things inside that solar system in their respective bubbles, each creating a bubble that is respective of its mass.

That bubble is warped space.  Its intensity of warpage is directly proportional to the amount of gravity.

When we see these huge storms on the sun that go on for days, or the Magellanic Clouds that seem to be frozen in time, this is our first clue that time is not a constant.

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If we could build a craft that could tolerate the heat of the sun and orbit it much closer to the sun, I also suspect that the storms on the sun would happen at an accelerated rate.  That craft would be in a different “local time.”

 

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Pick this handy little gadget up at Think Geek!

 

 

 

Much like traveling through the country we pass time zones and date zones.  If you hopped in your faster than lightspeed spaceship with your version of the flux capacitor and left to see the Horsehead Nebula, when you got there, it would not be there.

Leaving your “local time” heading outside of the solar system would put you into another time zone.  Instead of being based on some ancient 60 seconds to the minute, the next “bubble might be 75 seconds to the minute.”

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Traveling between the Bubbles in that area of empty space, where gravity does not play a role might very well find you traversing the distance in “no time,” as there is nothing there to create the bubble!

Pioneer 10 and 11 are slowing because they are reaching the end of this bubble and entering into another local time.  Once outside the bubble of the Milky Way, I suspect it will speed up significantly.

Where the demarcation point of that bubble is, is truly a mystery.

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This postulation can be proved or disproved with a simple test.

As the spacecraft get further away, does the bit rate of the telemetry change at all, even in the slightest?

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The bit rate should not change with distance, only time!

I am a science fiction writer.  I don’t pretend to understand the books of math that these scientists do.  Because I don’t constrain my thought process to what I can find a formula for, I can think outside the box.

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The postulations no matter how preposterous they may seem to the scientific community, I claim them as mine and hold that copyright.

They may very well find themselves in one of my next novels which is possibly the only place that they belong.

-Best

© All Rights Reserved 2016

 

Trump is not perfect, so I cannot vote for him! @realdonaldtrump

Trump is not perfect, so I cannot vote for him! @realdonaldtrump

 

 

Many on the extreme right saw Cruz as the model of their idea of the perfect candidate.

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He said all the right things to woo the evangelicals and of course hid his dirty work under the covers so the “perfect” voters could feel good about casting their vote for a man that held their ideals and worshiped the same Jesus that they worship.

This person won Iowa by cheating and pulling Lawyer tricks.

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This person took delegates that should have belonged to Trump again through Lawyer tricks, and when accosted by Trump his response was, “all is fair in love and politics” paraphrasing.

To garner his win in Utah “he” sent out a nude photo of Trump’s wife advertising to the UBER right wing Mormon class, that this was going to be their new first lady!

 

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Back in the day, she was a model… 

 

Twenty-Six million evangelicals stayed home in 2012 because they could not stomach a Mormon in the White House.  We got Obama for a second term. How did that work out for you?

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Here we are in 2016.

A self-made business man who has had ample opportunity to screw up his life, has managed to not only not screw it up but raise a family that manages to deal with wealth and not be totally rotten to the core.

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This is a man that does not drink, smoke or do drugs yet he could easily afford the best, like many celebrities, athletes, etc. and he does not.  His vice is a milkshake at the ballgame with friends.

 

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If I remember correctly Oreilly bought them!

 

I see many evangelical posts on social media saying that they cannot vote for Trump.  Alas, he is not perfect!

“No Christian should bow their knee to Trump; his past is questionable.”

Trump is not running for a theological leader of anyone.  Trump is running because he wants to give back to a country that has been good to him.

Self-funded the primary, handily beat 16 qualified candidates and now he has to survive $1.5 Billion dollars of negative ads, social engineering and right wing nut jobs who think that the next president should be Jesus himself!

Jesus is not going to run to save you from yourself!  He gave you a brain and reasoning skills and expects you to use them!

This next election is so important you have no idea.

The progressive agenda will utterly destroy what is left of this country after this last 8 years.

 

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He never inhaled or learned what the meaning of “is is…” 

 

We will be $20T in debt because of this administration and have many more problems than answers for the next president to deal with.

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I am not an apologist for Trump.

I know who he is. He is not perfect  Folks, we could do one hell of a lot worse than him.  If you stay home, you are voting for Hillary.  If you are willingly voting for her, you need to stop drinking the kool-aid.

 

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If you can’t chuckle at this your not trying!

 

Isn’t it a good thing that God does not judge you as harshly as you judge Trump?

Vote to “Make America Great Again!” It’s the right thing to do!

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-Best

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