March 16th, 2012
BLS note: Interesting how most of these such pieces, these days, end up being mostly false. The Liberals can't make their points with facts, so they resort to lies...
By Nilay Patel
Apple got a lot of attention recently over conditions in the Chinese factories that make its iPhones and iPads. The public radio show "This American Life" aired an electrifying account of one man’s visit to several factories. The man was Mike Daisey, a storyteller who is widely credited with making people think differently about how their Apple products are made.
It’s Daisey’s story about visiting a Foxconn factory in China where Apple manufactures iPhones and other products. With the help of a Chinese translator, Daisey finds underage workers, poisoned workers, maimed workers, and dismal factory conditions for those who make iPhones and iPads.
“I’m telling you that in my first two hours at my first day at that gate I met workers who were 14 years old…13 years old…12," Daisey recounted. "Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?”
Daisey told This American Life and numerous other news outlets that his account was all true.
But it wasn’t.
For the past year and a half, I’ve reported on Apple’s supply chain in China, where I work as Marketplace’s China Correspondent, based in Shanghai. When I heard Daisey’s story, certain details didn’t sound right. I tracked down Daisey’s Chinese translator to see for myself.
“My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism. And it’s not journalism. It’s theater.” - Mike Daisey
For years, reporters in China have uncovered a sizable list of problems that have shown the dark side of what it’s like to work at factories that assemble Apple products. Mike Daisey would have you believe that he encountered—first-hand—some of the most egregious examples of this history all in just a six-day trip he took to the city of Shenzhen.
Take one example from his monologue—it takes place at a meeting he had with an illegal workers union. He meets a group of workers who’ve been poisoned by the neurotoxin N-Hexane while working on the iPhone assembly line: “…and all these people have been exposed,” he says. “Their hands shake uncontrollably. Most of them…can't even pick up a glass.”
Cathy Lee, Daisey’s translator in Shenzhen, was with Daisey at this meeting in Shenzhen. I met her in the exact place she took Daisey—the gates of Foxconn. So I asked her: “Did you meet people who fit this description?”
“No,” she said.
“So there was nobody who said they were poisoned by hexane?” I continued.
Lee’s answer was the same: “No. Nobody mentioned the Hexane.”
I pressed Cathy to confirm other key details that Daisey reported. Did the guards have guns when you came here with Mike Daisey? With each question I got the same answer from Lee. “No,” or “This is not true.”
Daisey claims he met underage workers at Foxconn. He says he talked to a man whose hand was twisted into a claw from making iPads. He describes visiting factory dorm rooms with beds stacked to the ceiling. But Cathy says none of this happened.
Last week, together with Ira Glass, the host of This American Life Host, I confronted Daisey in an interview. I brought up the workers he says he met who were poisoned by N-hexane. I tell him what Cathy said.
Rob Schmitz: Cathy says you did not talk to workers who were poisoned with hexane.
Mike Daisey: That’s correct.
RS: So you lied about that? That wasn’t what you saw?
MD: I wouldn’t express it that way.
RS: How would you express it?
MD: I would say that I wanted to tell a story that captured the totality of my trip.
Ira Glass: Did you meet workers like that? Or did you just read about the issue?
MD: I met workers in, um, Hong Kong, going to Apple protests who had not been poisoned by hexane but had known people who had been, and it was a constant conversation among those workers.
IG: So you didn’t meet an actual worker who’d been poisoned by hexane.
MD: That’s correct.
Daisey apologized to Ira Glass for not telling the truth to him and his listeners.
“Look. I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard. But I stand behind the work,” Daisey said. “My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism. And it’s not journalism. It’s theater.”
This American Life Retracts the Story: This American Life devoted this weekend's episode to a retraction of "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory." Listen to the full episode.
This American Life wasn’t the only journalistic outlet for Daisey. For the past year, he’s been in the news constantly: newspaper articles, op-eds, magazine profiles, online news sites. He’s made numerous television appearances—CNN, C-SPAN, Bill Maher. And he usually says things like this, from an appearance on MSNBC a month ago:
What makes this a little complicated is that the things Daisey lied about seeing are things that have actually happened in China: Workers making Apple products have been poisoned by Hexane. Apple’s own audits show (PDF) the company has caught underage workers at a handful of its suppliers. These things are rare, but together, they form an easy-to-understand narrative about Apple.
“People like a very simple narrative,” said Adam Minter, a columnist for Bloomberg who’s spent years visiting more than 150 Chinese factories. He’s writing a book about the scrap recycling industry.
He says the reality of factory conditions in China is complicated—working at Foxconn can be grueling, but most workers will tell you they’re happy to have the job. He says Daisey’s become a media darling because he’s used an emotional performance to focus on a much simpler message:
“Foxconn bad. iPhone bad. Sign a petition. Now you’re good,” Minter says. “That’s a great simple message and it’s going to resonate with a public radio listener. It’s going to resonate with the New York Times reader. And I think that’s one of the reasons he’s had so much traction.”
And Minter says the fact that Daisey has not told the truth to people about what he saw in China won’t have much of an impact on how the public sees this issue.
And Apple will continue to try to clean up its image. The company’s hired an independent auditor to inspect its suppliers throughout China. Charles Duhigg is a New York Times reporter who helped write an investigative series on Apple’s supply chain. He told us that it may be hard to track whether conditions are improving because Apple hasn’t yet released data that can be compared on a year-by-year basis.
“My understanding is that Apple has said that they are going to begin releasing essentially granular data, and so we're looking for that to test the claims that things are improving as a result of Apple going in and demanding changes,” Duhigg said.
And if Apple does become more transparent about its supply chain, that’ll mean one step towards better working conditions, something Mike Daisey has been fighting for all along.
More From Marketplace
March 16th, 2012
Disproving the myth that Republicans are prudes, daring Daily Beast blogger and daughter of John McCain posed (fully clothed) for Playboy and hilariously described herself as "Strictly dickly." FYI, that means she's not bi, even if she does like to cuddle up with friends in her parent's big bed and eat ice cream. (Sounds seriously cozy).
Meghan used the racy magazine as a platform to discuss her struggles with Obamamania in '08 as well as how things would have gone if McCain had been elected President.
Want to read more trends like this? Check out the msnNOW home page.
related links from MSNBC
March 16th, 2012
BLS note: Not sure if this is a Left-Wing prank designed, by some Liberal, to garner succor for Obama or not, but it appears to be real....or, maybe it was simply contrived to harass Liberal Black folks, you know, ala Professor Derrick Bell, one of Obama's Icons at Harvard?
Is this racist, anti-Obama bumper sticker real?
An image purporting to show a racist, anti-Obama bumper sticker on t
An image purporting to show a racist, anti-Obama bumper sticker on the back of a vehicle has been garnering lots of attention on Facebook in the past 24 hours.
The bumper sticker reads, "Don't Re-Nig in 2012." And in smaller print below, "Stop repeat offenders. Don't' reelect Obama!" The sticker also features an image of the Obama campaign logo crossed out.
Several viewers have claimed the image has been digitally altered. After all, it seems shocking that someone would proudly display an openly racist image on their vehicle in 2012. So, is the image authentic?
In short, yes.
It's still unclear is the image of the vehicle has been altered in any way, but a website called "Stumpy's Stickers" offers the bumper sticker for sale for $3. And as The Root points out, the site also several other racially insensitive items for sale as well. The urban myth debunking site Snopes says it cannot yet determine the origins of the photo, but also points out the availability of other similar t-shirts and bumper stickers.
There is even an eponymous "Dontre-nig.com" website that appears to have crashed. Going to the page brings up a "Bandwith Limit Exceeded" warning message. I checked the domain registration service site WHOIS, which listed the site as belonging to an anonymous owner who purchased the URL through the company DomainsByProxy.com, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The company specializes in keeping the names of Internet domain owners private.
And as one astute Facebook reader pointed out, the bumper sticker is not only offensive, it's pretty dumb. After all, if you take the top message at its literal meaning, to not renege in 2012, would mean to in fact re-elect President Obama.
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March 16th, 2012
PCMAG.com / By Damon Poeter
Hold the phone—is Microsoft leaking attack vectors for its own Windows vulnerabilities to hackers these days? Probably not intentionally, but the Italian security researcher who discovered a critical vulnerability in the Microsoft Windows' Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) said Friday that he believes a barebones proof-of-concept (PoF) attack for the exploit that recently turned up on a Chinese website originated with the software giant or one of its security partners.
Microsoft earlier this week issued a patch for a critical flaw in RDP that could be used to crash computers running all versions of Windows, going so far as to add the warning to users that the company "strongly encourage[s] you to make a special priority of applying this particular update."
Just a few days after the Patch Tuesday update, security researchers began reporting that a legitimate working exploit had been made available online which is capable of crashing unpatched computers running Windows 7 or causing a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) condition on Windows XP machines.
All in a day's work for the tight-knit cybersecurity community, but the researcher who originally notified Microsoft of the GDP vulnerability thinks the exploit smells pretty fishy.
Luigi Auriemma, who discovered the vulnerability in May 2011 and reported it to Microsoft through ZDI/TippingPoint last August, spelled out his concerns in an Internet posting:
"Between 15 and 16 Mar someone released a precompiled console executable called "rdpclient.exe" somewhere on a chinese website (is http://115.com/file/be27pff7 the first location?). The program is a basic and poorly written proof-of-concept of the vulnerability and uses pre-built packets.
"After checking the packet dumped from the executable (the first python PoC) I noticed that the pre-built packet was the same one I sent to ZDI for quickly testing the vulnerability. It was very late here in Italy (05:00) so at the moment I thought that these "chinese hackers" were really very similar to me :)"
Similar enough to actually be him, the researcher decided.
Further study of rdpclient.exe convinced Auriemma that it contained the pre-built packet he himself had constructed and sent along to Microsoft. That led him to speculate that the full executable PoC that turned up on the Chinese website was actually compiled by Microsoft itself, passed along to antivirus developer partners in the Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) to devise a fix, and somewhere along the way got leaked out by Microsoft or one of its partners.
Microsoft isn't saying if any of this actually happened yet, but did give PCMag the following statement from Yunsun Wee, director of Trustworthy Computing:
"Microsoft is actively investigating the disclosure of shared MAPP vulnerability details and will take the necessary actions to protect customers. Given that a proof-of-concept is publically available, we recommend customers apply the security update (MS12-020) as soon as possible to be protected."
We'll say it again—patch that Windows box now!
With additional reporting by Fahmida Y. Rashid.
March 16th, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times / BY LYNN SWEET
CR Note: "Obama said he wants the U.S. to be as competitive as other nations." What a joke. Obama--who is doing everything he can to undermine the US at home and abroad on EVERY front.
President Obama returned home for two fund-raisers on Friday, taking aim at GOP rivals stumping in Illinois in advance of the Tuesday primary as contenders who hardly measured up to another president from Illinois--a Republican, Abe Lincoln.
In his speech, Obama said he wants the U.S. to be as competitive as other nations. “I don’t want to ride on a road in Germany and see a better road than Lake Shore Drive,” the famous roadway that runs along, mostly, Lake Michigan.
Obama headlined two events in Chicago on Friday before flying to Atlanta for three more events, a day that will raise millions of dollars for the combined Democratic National Committee/Obama 2012 re-election drive.
The first Obama event--a “Lawyers for Obama” luncheon at the Palmer House Hilton was open to press coverage; a roundtable for major donors after that was not. The roundtable feature Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn, former White House chief of staff Bill Daley, strategist David Axelrod, business executive Penny Pritzker and former Senate president Emil Jones.
At the start of the luncheon, Axelrod introduced a video released Thursday night the Obama campaign is calling a “documentary,” which recounts the accomplishments of the Obama administration.
Obama was introduced by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who was his seatmate when they both served in the Illinois Senate.
“Now, you might have noticed that we have some guests in Illinois this week,” Obama said at the luncheon. Without mentioning their names, he was referring to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum--campaigning in the Chicago northwest suburbs today, and Newt Gingrich, in the area on Wednesday and Thursday.
“Apparently things haven’t quite wrapped up on the other side. So, so there is actually some interest in the primary that we have here on Tuesday. And -- and my message to all the candidates is, welcome to the land of Lincoln.
“Because I’m thinking, maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they are here,” Obama said, recounting that Lincoln--even during the Civil War, was able to build a trans-continental railroad and establish land grant colleges.”
Obama, continuing to aim his remarks at his GOP rivals, said Lincoln “understood that we are a people that take great pride in our self-reliance and our independence, but that we are also one nation and one people, and that we rise or fall together.
“So I hope that while my counterparts on the other side enjoy the outstanding hospitality of the people of Illinois and spend some money here to promote our economy --- I hope they also take a little bit of time to reflect on this great man, the first Republican president.”
Obama addressed what is sometimes called the “enthusiasm gap,” the challenge in the 2012 campaign to recreate the “hope and change” euphoria that swept through many of his supporters in 2008.
The crowd--supportive but reserved--the room was full of lawyers--shared his “vision,” Obama said, recalling the heady days of 2008.
“That’s the change we believed in. That’s why you got involved. You didn’t get involved because the odds were that a guy named Barack Hussein Obama was going to be president,” Obama said.
“Yes you can,” someone shouted out--recasting a famous 2008 slogan.
“And we knew it wasn’t going to be easy or that it would come quickly. We knew it was going to be hard. But as you just saw in that video, just -- just think about what happened over the last three years because of what you did in 2008.
Because of your efforts, your commitment not to me, but to the country and to each other, we started to see what change looked like.”
Obama filled Grant Park the night he was elected in 2008. Recalling that he said, “As much as 2008 was exciting, and -- as much as all of us, I think, saw that night at Grant Park as -- as the culmination of something, it was actually just the beginning of what we’re fighting for. “