Beware of the Snake Oil

So browsing through my FB feeds this morning I saw this “paid advertisement.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 7.15.30 AM

I all the sudden felt a recon red team exercise coming on. I go head and click on over to the website. There was a lot of snake oil in that page and as someone who understands this crap from a system’s perspective, any time you use wireless there are serious possibilities for remote vulnerabilities or exploits. So when I saw this line, my bull crap meter red lined.

Old wired technology. Traditional alarm companies want to put wires in your walls, because they know that ripping their wires out is hard and expensive.

On that above quote, let me tell you, removing wires is not that difficult. It’s called a pair of dykes, knife, spackle, and paint.  I can “remove” that wire in about 5 minutes for about 15 bucks. Actually I can remove every wire associated to any alarm system.  Hell if it’s actually dropped into an electrical box, just put a blank cover plate on it for like 10 cents.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept and give it two thumbs up from that stand point and for most burglars this will probably be fine, until someone makes an App that turns off, disables, or denies service to any SimpliSafe system. Given the sensors communicate wirelessly with a central base station, this seems not only possible, but very within the realm of possibility.

Further as it’s a wireless system said app can now tell me which homes have something inside that they feel the need to protect using a system that I am now capable of disabling.

As I said above, great concept but if one thing as an engineer has taught me, especially with some time in product development, I have never seen someone come in with an idea and really consider security and take it serious from the start. It’s always an afterthought and treated like a bug. Even more than that, wireless is often thrown around like a buzzword as if it’s somehow better just because.  There are serious benefits to wireless but like everything it’s a trade-off.

If I had extra time now I’d totally pick up a system to beat the crap out of. My advice, it’s probably better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but eventually it will be the equivalent of painting an invisible radiating target on your house. For the most part you’re not protecting your house from people like me which is the one saving grace. That said, this will be a joke to any determined attacker for the reasons outlined above.

If they want to send me a system to evaluate, seriously not asking cause my time is precious right now, I’m more than happy to withdraw my basic observations above should they be proven wrong.

*Again I haven’t actually dug into said product, this is based on a review of their site literature and advertising. I am merely providing this as an educational service and food for thought. If you’re from SimpliSafe and feel epic butt-hurt from the above, contact me and we can chat about it.

Where the F*** is the NRA?!

Background

46f45fc1d77a6c0a37791ab4003e0e0aFor those of you who don’t know, a serious fight kicked off last January in Washington state. Lately I have volunteered my time to speak at gun shows and other events and let me tell you something, I am terrified. Out of the people visiting their local gun show you would expect at least 90% of the people to have at least heard about what’s going on, it’s more like 50%. Most have no real knowledge of either of the initiatives or their real legal impact and what it means for them as gun owners.

Recently gun owners accomplished a great feat in Missouri and everyone is all ecstatic, thing is strategically Washington has a lot of ground to cover and is quite likely to cause failures in other states. Not to mention they had no opposing ballot initiatives in their fight.

For those who don’t know, Bloomberg and his “Everytown” group have pledged 50 million dollars to aid in pushing Initative-594. Bloomberg has been stating he wants to crush the NRA, what better way when the NRA doesn’t even bother to show up, I’ll explain in a bit. Quite literally this is the biggest fight going on between gun owners and Bloomberg.

There is also an opposition bill, I-591, which Washington gun owners want to pass that will prevent the state from confiscating firearms under a declared emergency.


Current State of the Fight

Polling DataYardSignSTOPGUNblackfinal

First off, current polling data I’m getting through the grape vine, remember this fight began in January we’re 8 months in with 3 to go.

The news is, frankly, bad. We’re 8 months into a 11 month fight and running out of time. According to my sources, the numbers are running against us on the anti-gun I-594 stealth gun registration scheme, with voters polling over 2:1 in favor.

On I-591, the Gottlieb sponsored initiative banning gun seizures and forcing Washington to refrain from background checks at least until a consistent federal standard is passed is doing better – about half of voters polled support it. We can win 591 if folks get off their flabby… and start volunteering and writing checks.

The War Chests (The core data showing something’s wrong)

Our Side

Now lets talk war chests and who’s been providing support and where:

Data for the contribution statistics above can be seen here.

The good news is there have also been a pile of individual donors so the total contributions thus far are in the $1 million range.

What about those pushing for I-594?alt_pro594

What does it actually look like?

Total raised: $3+ million dollars, including a single $30k contribution from MAIG.

What about the NRA?

The NRA has showered this fight with a whopping, wait for it, $25,000. You read that right, MAIG has actually put more money into this fight than the NRA.

What’s being done with the war chests?

It isn’t always about how much money you raise, it’s about how you spend it. Here’s how each group, on our side of the fight, has spent their contributions to the war effort.


 

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  • Created POGR
  • Created I-591/594 Campaign Art
  • Created I-591/594 Bumper Stickers
  • Created I-591/594 Yard Signs, currently in productions
  • Staff for the Washington Arms Collectors, Falcon, Knodel, and other gun shows regarding I591/I594

logo recreaction

  • Reference section regarding 591/594
  • Comped tables for anyone associated with POGR at any WAC show
  • Comp’d tables through CCKRBA for the NRA
  • Public Representation
  • Law Enforcement Networking*

*Quite honestly that is probably the biggest thing WAC, or anyone has done in this fight. You would think the NRA would have been able to do this but it was WAC. What am I talking about?

WACOPS declared support of I-591 noting that it protects background check uniformity, allows the background check debate to continue on the federal level and allows WA state standards to change if, or when, federal standards change.

At the same time WACOPS noted the many flaws of I-594 and made clear their opposition to the measure as an organization.


NRA-logo

  • Two field reps, who are forbidden to support I-591
  • No campaign materials
  • Outdated self-promoting material
  • Complete lack of coordination in working with any of the above for the common goal
  • A committee with an unknown name and no resources to actually be allowed to call itself such.

I wish I was making the above up but I am not. I have met both of the lovely young women who are working as field reps for the NRA, they expressed frustration at the way the NRA seemed to be dragging its feet. Even more importantly how they are restrained from being fully effective. The reps are being constrained from being effective by the NRA.


What exactly is the deal with I-591?591-594 Bumpersticker

If you are a Washington state resident you want it to pass, doubly so as it creates a very interesting legal problem if I-594 passes as well. This is a part of a legal chess game and honestly this all goes back to 2013 when I wrote this earlier article. Gottlieb saw 594 on the horizon and was trying to cut it off at the pass, destroy the Washington state pistol registry while really giving them nothing. The key to screwing our enemy is make them think they have a win when they actually get nothing. Well it was done so well that the NRA that sounded that alarm, portrayed Gottlieb as a traitor and move their residential members to have the bill struck down.

Now we find our selves facing 594, and 591 was created as a response to try to help gun owners, as usual though the NRA doesn’t like it, presumably because they didn’t come up with it and their committee to form a committee hasn’t come back with an agreement yet.

Interestingly the NRA doesn’t even seem to be really reaching out to their local members except to call up and ask for more money. Tell me, why would I give a contribution to the NRA to “Help fight Michael Bloomberg” when in the biggest ongoing battle with him you’re nowhere to be found? <- Seriously they called me last week wanting me to donate money and I was starting to dig up this information. I’m about ready to say I will not be getting the life membership I was thinking about getting this December as a birthday present, much less renewing.


Does the NRA hate Washington State?

It certainly feels that way. I have heard through the rumor mill that the NRA has a serious dislike for Gottlieb and they view this as a “let’s screw Gottlieb” moment. The catch is they’re screwing over every gun owner in the state of Washington over petty personal politics.

No one has been able to figure out why the NRA hasn’t endorsed I-591, it’s only a page long and so simple even a child can understand it.

If the NRA feels that 594 is too likely to pass so why bother investing in the fight, why not then endorse 591 to give the best possibilities in a legal challenge? Preventing a total victory for our opponents.


Tactical fallout:

There is, as with any battle, a list of tactical consequences that come with defeat and it is no different in this political fight. There are implications both nationally and locally.

First, despite the NRA seeming to think they do not have a dog in this fight, should 594 pass and 591 fail, MAIG, Every-town, and every other wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg Inc. will declare this a victory over the NRA.  The NRA has been portrayed to be the big evil nasty villain that is impossible to conquer. This fight, the opposition may do exactly that.  That gives the opposition momentum. Momentum creates opportunity and allows for more losses.

Which brings us to similar types of initiatives being brought forward in Nevada, Arizona and elsewhere shortly there after should they win.

And then the local fallout.  Expect to see attempts for a semi-auto and magazine ban in the state of Washington most likely in 2016 when there is also a presidential and gubernatorial election and the Peoples Republic of Puget Sound will be out in full voting fury.


Conclusion:

There is no doubt this fight is a big deal. A bigger deal than most people realize.  Implications are reaching far and wide and it seems that the largest most effective group with the largest reach is sleeping at the wheel.

We have a fight on our hands, if you’re a gun owner in the state of Washington, be sure to educate your friends and family about I-594 and I-591, the implications and facts behind them.  If you’d like to volunteer in some way hit up this contact form.  If you’d like to donate to Protect Our Gun Rights, go here.

And I will say it again, “Where the F*** is the NRA?”  Feel free to ask that the next time they call asking for money.

*It should be noted that my main complaint here is that the NRA is more than happy to take my money but then is no where to be found when things actually go sideways. While some would say, “quit complaining and do it yourself,” well that’s exactly what I am !@#$ing doing. As such I’ll be taking my money with me, cause obviously I need it for the fight they’re not willing to take on.

***Tap Tap Tap*** This thing still on?…

Life has been interesting as of late. I started a new gig in June and this one is all sorts of interesting.  Not as much from an engineering stand point but just generally a fun project and I’m getting to teach a lot of people a lot of different things.

But it looks like I’m going to have to find time to get active over the next few months. I’ve been helping by volunteering my time but it ends up things are not as happy as many would like you to think.  This weekend I’m going to write-up what I’ve been able to find thus far, but currently if you’re a gun owner in Washington State, you should be crapping your pants.

Looks like I will be blogging much more again, and I’ll be pinging a buddy of mine to get him writing again as well.

Washington Update: I-591/I-594

I just received the following in an email:

Dear Gun Rights Supporter,

The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) announced it will endorse I-591 and oppose Initiative 594. With more than 4,500 members in police agencies across Washington State, WACOPS is the state’s oldest and most influential law enforcement organization representing rank-and-file police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

WACOPS is the second statewide law enforcement organization to support I-591. The Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (WSLEFIA) also endorsed the measure, and voted to oppose I-594.

We need to get the word out that law enforcement is on our side and debunk some of the lies the opposing camp has already begun to spread.

Our opponents have already raised over $2.6 million, more than three times the amount we’ve raised from our grassroots supporters.

They’ve received huge donations from millionaires and billionaires, like the anti-gun rights former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and unleashed a barrage of money and operatives from out-of-state to attack our rights and make us all less free.

I’ve never seen so much money and resources pour in to our state just to attack our rights.

Our campaign is sustained on small donations from people concerned about their rights and safety of their community.

But there’s no need to panic just yet. If we could raise $10 from every gun owner in our state we would be able to defeat their lies and misinformation, and preserve the rights and public safety of everyone in Washington State.

However, as I’m sure you know, not every gun owner will respond to our call for help. That’s why I need you to make a contribution that is as large as possible at this critical time.

I know I can count on you.

Sincerely,
Alan Gottlieb

This is very good news but we’re not out of the woods yet.  If you are a resident of the State of Washington, you need to be doing all you can to educate your neighbors about the truth of I-594.

Quote of the Day – Ry Jones (6/2/2014)

people hate being system administrators, now I have to set up ntp on my light switches?

Ry Jones – IM Chat


[This was in reference to the announcements from Apple this morning and their home automation ventures. He does have a very valid point. Just about everyone hates system administration tasks so heavily that they quite often pay other people to do it for them.
If someone said you too could automate your house, but you'll have to maintain this network of stuff I'd just laugh and walk away.-B]

 

Memorial Day…

Memorial day is upon us once again. Let me start by cheering the mood with a Terminal Lance.

On memorial day.

Now you might want to go over and read his post about it. Honestly his meme nails it. Along with this closing quote:

Whatever you did, I hope you enjoyed your 96 (or 72 for most civilians). If you had a barbecue and enjoyed yourself, more power to you.

For some memorial day is a much heavier time.

Luckily, not everyone has such a burden to bear. It’s part of what makes this country great, the sacrifices made so that others don’t have to. Ultimately though when it comes down to it, when the grinder is actually chewing away many of those sacrifices come about not as much for their loved ones at home but for their brothers and sisters who will gladly answer the call. Examples of this are seen all over, from the well-known Operation Red Wings, to the Battle of Takur Ghar(Roberts Ridge).

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, U.S.C., awards the Air Force Cross to TSgt John Chapman for extraordinary heroism in military operation against an armed enemy of the United States as a 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Combat Controller in the vicinity of Gardez, in the eastern highlands of Afghanistan, on 4 March 2002. On this date, during his helicopter insertion for a reconnaissance and time sensitive targeting close air support mission, Sergeant Chapman’s aircraft came under heavy machine gun fire and received a direct hit from a rocket propelled grenade which caused a United States Navy sea-air-land team member to fall from the aircraft. Though heavily damaged, the aircraft egressed the area and made an emergency landing seven kilometers away. Once on the ground Sergeant Chapman established communication with an AC-130 gunship to insure the area was secure while providing close air support coverage for the entire team. He then directed the gunship to begin the search for the missing team member. He requested, coordinated, and controlled the helicopter that extracted the stranded team and aircrew members. These actions limited the exposure of the aircrew and team to hostile fire. Without regard for his own life Sergeant Chapman volunteered to rescue his missing team member from an enemy strong hold. Shortly after insertion, the team made contact with the enemy. Sergeant Chapman engaged and killed two enemy personnel. He continued to advance reaching the enemy position then engaged a second enemy position, a dug-in machine gun nest. At this time the rescue team came under effective enemy fire from three directions. From close range he exchanged fire with the enemy from minimum personal cover until he succumbed to multiple wounds. His engagement and destruction of the first enemy position and advancement on the second position enabled his team to move to cover and break enemy contact. In his own words, his Navy sea-air-land team leader credits Sergeant Chapman unequivocally with saving the lives of the entire rescue team. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and the dedication to the service of his country, Sergeant Chapman reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Ahh, but there was more than just Chapman doing things for his brothers on the ridge that day.

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, U.S.C., awards the Air Force Cross to Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force while serving as a pararescueman near the village of Marzak in the Paktia Province of Afghanistan on 4 March 2002. On that proud day, Airman Cunningham was the primary Air Force Combat Search and Rescue medic assigned to a Quick Reaction Force tasked to recover two American servicemen evading capture in austere terrain occupied by massed Al Qaida and Taliban forces. Shortly before landing, his MH-47E helicopter received accurate rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire, severely disabling the aircraft and causing it to crash land. The assault force formed a hasty defense and immediately suffered three fatalities and five critical casualties. Despite effective enemy fire, and at great risk to his own life, Airman Cunningham remained in the burning fuselage of the aircraft in order to treat the wounded. As he moved his patients to a more secure location, mortar rounds began to impact within fifty feet of his position. Disregarding this extreme danger, he continued the movement and exposed himself to enemy fire on seven separate occasions. When the second casualty collection point was also compromised, in a display of uncommon valor and gallantry, Airman Cunningham braved an intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack while repositioning the critically wounded to a third collection point. Even after he was mortally wounded and quickly deteriorating, he continued to direct patient movement and transferred care to another medic. In the end, his distinct efforts led to the successful delivery of ten gravely wounded Americans to life-saving medical treatment. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, and in the dedication of his service to his country, Senior Airman Cunningham reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Every man on that mountain was there to find their brother. Many volunteered knowing exactly how bad the situation was. Because they were not going to leave their brother behind. We see it over and over in the citations from SDVT-1.

For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Dietz demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation and his responsibility to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz fought valiantly against the numerically superior and positionally advantaged enemy force. Remaining behind in a hailstorm of enemy fire, Petty Officer Dietz was wounded by enemy fire. Despite his injuries, he bravely fought on, valiantly defending his teammates and himself in a harrowing gunfight, until he was mortally wounded. By his undaunted courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and absolute devotion to his teammates, Petty Officer Dietz will long be remembered for the role he played in the Global War on Terrorism. Petty Officer Dietz’ courageous and selfless heroism, exceptional professional skill, and utmost devotion to duty reflected great credit upon him and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

The song sung is not really for the people behind them but for their brothers and sisters on their left and right. That is why they keep going back and will go through hell to get them.

For extraordinary heroism in actions against the enemy while serving in a four-man Special Reconnaissance element with SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team ONE, Naval Special Warfare Task unit, Afghanistan from 27 to 28 June 2005. Petty Officer Axelson demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. Operating in the middle of an enemy-controlled area, in extremely rugged terrain, his Special Reconnaissance element was tasked with locating a high-level Anti-Coalition Militia leader, in support of a follow-on direct action mission to disrupt enemy activity. On 28 June 2005, the element was spotted by Anti-Coalition Militia sympathizers, who immediately revealed their position to the militia fighters. As a result, the element directly encountered the enemy. Demonstrating exceptional resolve and fully understanding the gravity of the situation, Petty Officer Axelson’s element bravely engaged the militia, who held both a numerical and positional advantage. The ensuing firefight resulted in numerous enemy personnel killed, with several of the Navy members suffering casualties. Ignoring his injuries and demonstrating exceptional composure, Petty Officer Axelson advised the teammate closest to him to escape while he provided cover fire. With total disregard for his own life and thinking only of his teammate’s survival, he continued to attack the enemy, eliminating additional militia fighters, until he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. A champion of freedom, Petty Officer Axelson will be remembered for his self-sacrificing actions in the continuing Global War on Terrorism. By his undaunted courage, fortitude under fire, and unwavering dedication to duty, Petty Officer Axelson reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for the cause of freedom.

They think not of themselves but of others.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as the leader of a special reconnaissance element with Naval Special Warfare Task Unit Afghanistan on 27 and 28 June 2005. While leading a mission to locate a high-level anti-coalition militia leader, Lieutenant Murphy demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the face of grave danger in the vicinity of Asadabad, Konar Province, Afghanistan. On 28 June 2005, operating in an extremely rugged enemy-controlled area, Lieutenant Murphy’s team was discovered by anti-coalition militia sympathizers, who revealed their position to Taliban fighters. As a result, between 30 and 40 enemy fighters besieged his four-member team. Demonstrating exceptional resolve, Lieutenant Murphy valiantly led his men in engaging the large enemy force. The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lieutenant Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lieutenant Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his beleaguered teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communicating in the extreme terrain, and in the face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lieutenant Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. In his final act of bravery, he continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life for his country and for the cause of freedom. By his selfless leadership, courageous actions, and extraordinary devotion to duty, Lieutenant Murphy reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

They do it without hesitation knowing that their brothers would do the same, and that no matter what their blood and bond will not be broken.

So, this memorial day, have a BBQ, celebrate with friends, and don’t mourn. In the words of George S. Patton,

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.