Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My Latest Foreign Policy Insight for President-elect Trump...

Earlier today, I penned a brief article on my Security Forum website.  I figured I should provide the link here for my contacts.  In this brief piece, I argue that "the inevitable death of the Islamic State as an organized entity will not mean the end of the ideology that propelled it into existence.  Nor will it put an end to terrorism."

Here is the link:

Monday, October 10, 2016

Robbery questions put Kardashians on hold

Robbery questions put Kardashians on hold

Ever since Kim Kardashian announced a jewelry robbery that, according to her and husband Kanye West, led to a thief stealing away with tens of millions worth of jewelry, all eyes have been on the Kardashian clan … and not in the usual leering, appreciative way. The blogosphere almost immediately accused Kanye and Kim of making it all up. Of staging the robbery to steal headlines. Others said the story was an elaborate hoax to promote the next season of Keeping up With the Kardashians… well, if that’s the case, the mission backfired.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Trump catching heat for foundation allegations

Trump catching heat for foundation allegations

Charitable foundations are supposed to be repositories of positive PR. They allow you to do some good while generating positive stories connected with your name or brand. But, after this year’s presidential election cycle, the “charitable foundation” just won’t have the same ring to it. Both major party candidates are facing questions related to their foundations.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Media companies suing FBI over iPhone hack

Media companies suing FBI over iPhone hack

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to get tough on Apple last year after the San Bernardino terrorist attacks. The Feds wanted to hack into one of the terrorist’s smartphones using a technique that, Apple said, could render all iPhones – and by extension all iPhone users – vulnerable to hacking.
The FBI pushed. Apple stood firm. Now the Associated Press has joined forces with two other news agencies – Gannett Co, which owns USA Today, and Vice Media LLC – to sue the FBI to get records pertaining to the Feds contract with an as yet named vendor who gave investigators a tool to unlock the phone.
The FBI alleged the deal with the undisclosed hacker allowed them to drop threats against Apple rather than the groundswell of public support for the tech company. But the Associated Press is having none of that. In the lawsuit, the complainant says:
“Understanding the amount that the FBI deemed appropriate to spend on the tool, as well as the identity and reputation of the vendor it did business with, is essential for the public to provide effective oversight of government functions and help guard against potential improprieties…”
In other words, who is the government paying to break into privately owned phones, how much and how often. While these questions are not likely to be answered by this suit, the fact that the suit is happening goes a long way toward getting some of these answers, because someone had to take the lead … and few groups have the same sway as the combined power of the AP, Gannett, and VICE.
The suit cites the Freedom of Information Act, claiming the information should be accessible and that the U.S. public deserves to know what the FBI is doing with tax dollars, especially if it poses a security risk to American citizens. All previous requests for the information have been ignored or rebuffed. The FBI says releasing the information could hinder “enforcement proceedings.”
While legal decisions will likely play a decisive role in the proceedings, public pressure could very well assist in the press company’s efforts to receive the information. How much and how often, as well as what the narrative will be will be up to the editors at these various media agencies.
David Firester specializes in intelligence analysis and is founder of TRAC Intelligence.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

iPhone spyware creates security concern

A recent Associated Press report reveals just how easy it can be for some spyware to latch onto your iPhone. Here’s a bit of the report:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Twitter slams the door on thousands of “terrorist” accounts

Twitter slams the door on thousands of “terrorist” accounts

Tired of being blamed for “helping” the spread of terrorism, Twitter recently announced it was suspending 235,000 accounts for “promoting terrorism” in the past six months. This brings the total of suspended accounts up to 360,000 since mid-2015.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Dole salad blamed for death

Dole salad blamed for death

It’s been a bad couple of years for bagged salads. Seems like every few months another story hits the news of someone poisoned by eating tainted greens. This time, according to a wrongful death lawsuit, an Ohio woman died because she ate salad processed at a Dole plant that had previously been linked to an outbreak of listeria.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How to Ensure your Safety When Traveling Abroad

How to Ensure your Safety When Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad is one of the greatest adventures of the modern era. Sure, you can see the world from your computer screen - but you can't experience it until you get out there and see it for yourself. Unfortunately, everyone has heard horror stories about what can happen to you when you're travelling abroad. While traveling can be a dangerous process, you can mitigate that danger by being smart and being informed. Below are just a few tips that can help you ensure your safety while you are traveling abroad.

Do Your Research

Before you travel, try to get some information about the places to which you are going. The easiest marks for thieves are always locals who don't know the common scams, so do a little bit of reserach before you get on the plane. Look up common scams in your area of choice and try to avoid looking like an easy target. If you do your research, you will be able to avoid those individuals who want to prey on your naivete.

Get Local Advice

Thanks to the internet, you can get information from locals in the area to which you are traveling today. Go online to forums centered around your destination of choice and ask questions. Locals know the spots to avoid, how to make sure that you don't fall for common scams and who to talk to if yo udo find yourself in real trouble. Spend some time talking to the real people of the country you are visiting so you can find out exactly what goes on in their world.

Stay in Contact

Someone should always know where you are at all times. If you are travelling with a group, make sure that someone always has a cell phone. If you are travelling alone, check in with your hotel or resort and let them know that you plan on returning that evening. Make sure you have a contact stateside who can check on you any time you are going out - you never know how much a simple phone call can help.

Use Common Sense

Finally, use common sense! If an activity would be dangerous at home, it is dangerous abroad. Don't trust strangers, don't waive your money around and always make sure that you stick to populated areas. One of the biggest dangers to tourists is the temporary stupidity that comes along with vacations, so make sure you avoid it as best you can!

David Firester is founder of TRAC Intelligence, a intelligence analysis firm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Twin South Africans Arrested in Terrorist Plot

Twin South Africans Arrested in Terrorist Plot by David Firester

The Arrest 

On Saturday, July 7, twin brothers from South Africa, Brandon-Lee Thulsie and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were arrested for planning attacks on the U.S. embassy and other Jewish institutions. The brothers, each twenty-three years of age, were apparently planning on joining ISIS following their attacks. Two other coconspirators were arrested as well. At the time of the arrest, police found stockpiles of ammunition and grenades in one suspect’s home. The elite police unit, known as the Hawks, that conducted the arrest confiscated the suspects’ computers and mobile phones.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chrysler adding jobs while other brands are hurting

David Firester

Read automotive news headlines and it seems like bad news is the talk of the town. Recalls, autopilot issues, and brands hemorrhaging cash both here and abroad. But at least one American brand is reporting good news this week. Fiat Chrysler is investing over a billion dollars to upgrade two Midwest auto plants, creating upwards of 1,000 jobs in the process. Good thing, since the company lost about that many jobs earlier this year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Did Tesla mislead shareholders regarding death of customer using autopilot feature

David Firester

On May 7th, Joshua Brown became a highway fatality. Unfortunately, people die in car accidents way too often, but there was an interesting twist about this accident. It happened in Brown’s Tesla Model S while driving on a Florida highway in autopilot mode. Elon Musk said Tesla immediately reported the accident to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pursuant to their established protocols. The NHTSA however, did not make an announcement about opening an investigation into the incident until the end of June.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit Ignites U.S. POTUS Battle

Brexit Ignites U.S. POTUS battle

In the wake of the BREXIT vote, American presidential hopefuls are using the fallout from the vote to shore up their base and boost their central message.

Net Neutrality Gets a Big Win

Net Neutrality Gets a Big Win

 Looks like net neutrality will be preserved for the foreseeable future. In a 2-1 ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals, consumer groups and President Obama won a victory against companies that want to block or hinder online content…or divide it into different pay scale “lanes.”

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Finding Authenticity: The Challenges Brands Face in Finding Their Authentic Voice

Brands face a great deal of difficulty in finding their authenticity, especially in the last several years. Companies like Pepsi or Apple have spent millions of dollars on ads, and those companies have spent untold millions on hiring big-money marketers and advertising firms to create an authentic voice and brand for them to become recognizable.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

NVIDIA Leads the Way with Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

In the not-so-distant-past, companies employed workers for almost their entire lifetime. Many companies also adopted seniority programs where the longer an employee remained with the company, the more money they eventually made.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Airlines Facing Trouble Due to Terrorism

Airlines Facing Trouble Due to Terrorism

Airline travel changed a great deal after 9-11. Massive changes were made to both internal and external security apparatus and infrastructure. Over the years, people complained, but they began to feel safe. While some airlines continued to struggle, many did well, enjoying an increase in overall customers and key market segments, particularly leisure travelers.

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Ironic: 15 Bucks an Hour to Protest Against Trump!

How ironic is it that the organized Left is offering, to quote Bernie Sanders, “15 bucks an hour” to protest against Donald J. Trump. For all those who think that these protests are spontaneous, think again. While I may not be a Trump supporter, per se, I would like to highlight the Left’s dirty little tricks.

So, when we see violent protests occurring around the country we must remember that the Left is rather adept at this tactic. If you want to see exactly how they have done it with regard to the so-called Occupy Wall Street movement, I strongly recommend you watch "Occupy Unmasked." This is straight out of the pages of Saul Alinsky’s work, which was venerated by none other than Hillary (Rodham) Clinton.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Importance and Power of Voting

The fact that we live in a democracy is a privilege that many of us take for granted. People who live in the United States don't think about what it is like to live under a dictatorship. It is time that all of us take some notice of the great plan that the founding fathers set in motion for this country.

Friday, May 13, 2016

SpaceX Continues to Push the Boundaries and Succeed

SpaceX continues to push the boundaries and succeed

One of the greatest unforeseen results of the space race is that it made the impossible feel routine. For anyone not inside Mission Control, a shuttle launch was news, but it ceased to be Must See TV. Then, without much fanfare, shuttle launches became a thing of the past. Routine got mothballed, and Americans lost their wonder, their thirst for exploration outside this planet. But a few intrepid entrepreneurs are seeking to change that. Their companies are finding success and reigniting that American thirst for making the impossible routine.

Are Apple’s Struggles Related to Jobs?

Are Apple's Struggles Jobs Related?

Apple just suffered its first disappointing quarter in the market equivalent of forever. Sluggish iPhone sales have investors raising eyebrows at the chicest consumer tech company in the biz. How bad has it gotten at Apple? Well, the first sales decline in 13 years motivated a massive selloff that dropped the company’s market value by roughly $43 billion. Yes, with a “B”.