Sludge Report #163: Where Is George?
Can You See GeorgeWBush.Com? If So Who Is He Today?
A Special Interactive Edtion
By C.D. Sludge
Boy do we have a job for the thememoryhole.org. If the following hypothesis is correct then the world wide weirdness we call internet propaganda and media just got a whole order more complicated.
Is the official GeorgeWBush.Com '04 Campaign website set up to deliver different messages depending on where you are and which phone company you use? Initial indications make it look as if it is.
MSN More Useful Everyday... Where Is George Anyway?
Can you replicate this page using your browser?
Now lest you be thinking this is just a Domain Name Server (DNS) issue, we have now established that this is not a routine DNS issue after looking at it for a couple of days. And nor is it a windup.
So far we have a fair few clues as to what is going on, some of these are below.
On the face of things it appears that the George Bush Campaign either already has, or is the process of putting in place an internet infrastructure to enable the incumbent Presidential Candidate to be even more duplicitous than real world media would allow him to be.
Or more precisely, if we are right this setup might allow George to be fully multifaceted. Every politicians dream is to be everything to everybody, all things to all people. And making this dream a reality may just be what this is all about.
According to Sludge's technical advisory team traceroute data to GeorgeWBush.com shows lots of strange (unconventional) routing going on towards the end of the path to the site. In layman's tems this could mean that the doorman at GeorgeWBush central is having a good gander at the cut of your suit before deciding which room to send you to.
And this is why we want screenshots. And particularly screenshots from exotic locations - Iraq, Kosovo, Eastern Europe, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc... and from the so called election battleground states over the coming months.
If you do not know whether you are in a Battleground state for the November US Election as a rule of thumb if you can see a TV advert for George Bush on your TV then we want your screenshot of your georgewbush.com, and we want to know where you live.
This article is also a request for information. We want your help to solve this mystery.
What City You Are In?
What ISP You Are Using?
Can you see the George Bush '04 Campaign site?
And if so what you can see?
Please send this information either anonymously via the Scoop webform or firstname.lastname@example.org , if sending screenshots please put "I See George" in the subject line, and if you can't see George please put "I can't see George".
If you are a DemocraticUnderground.com member you can also file reports in this thread.
HOW TO TAKE A SCREENSHOT
To take a screenshot you will need to install a piece of free software. If you haven't already got one this one is excellent, small, simple to use and spyware free.
Howie's Quick Screen Capture Tool http://www.howiesfunware.com/SideBarMiscSoftware.html.
What Else Do We Know So Far - Who Is GeorgeWBush.Com?
GeorgeWBush.com is the Bush Cheney 04 official site. It is advertised all over the net and its advertising spend will get bigger in coming months.
According to Alexa.com it gets a lot of traffic. The above image shows its three month average - ranking in the 6000s means it is on a similar level of traffic to a substantial online news site like Stuff.co.nz which serves around 7 to 8 million pages a day.
However if you click on the image you can see the latest details wich show traffic has been growing exponentially, as of today now it is close to breaking into the top 1000 of all websites putting it up there with the La Times.
So far we know that bush-outs are occurring on a sub city level. I.E. some ISPs in some cities are seeing the site while others can't.
We also know it is not solely ISP related… i.e. some Telstra bigpond customers can see the site and others can't. And we know it is transnational, i.e. four nations report problems so far.
We also know that, unsurprisingly, the hosts have a fairly large server network. All of which seems running Microsoft product. (See… http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=georgewbush.com)
(Note: The Microsoft decision is a rather odd decision in security terms given that it is probably a very obvious hackers target and Microsoft server exploits are the most commonly known about and searched for.)
New VP candidate John Edwards' site was the only other site with a negative ranking (-1) with all other hopefuls making at least an above 0 count.
Included in the test data was the following.
Does Not Validate - 6 errors
And from this we can deduce that the GeorgeWBush.com crew are not the world's most bugless programming shop, and this gives us a possible explanation for the bush outs occurring in Canada, Caberra and Wellington. If you have a new high tech routing system trying to tailor content to different areas it might have a few bugs.
Meanwhile the folk over here:
Have been wondering how a relative unknown in the web industry managed to get such a lucrative contract. They deduce that he is possible George's cousin among other things.
Finally another test tool shows some odd results on the DNS setup.
FAIL NS agreement on SOA Serial #
ERROR: Your nameservers disagree as to which version of your DNS is the latest! 1089147777 versus 1089147778! This is OK if you have just made a change recently, and your secondary DNS servers haven't yet received the new information from the master. I will continue the report, assuming that 1089147778 is the correct serial #.
WARN SOA Serial Number
WARNING: Your SOA serial number is: 1089147778. That is OK, but the recommended format (per RFC1912 2.2) is YYYYMMDDnn, where 'nn' is the revision. For example, if you are making the 3rd change on 02 May 2000, you would use 2000050203. This number must be incremented every time you make a DNS change.
WARN SOA REFRESH value
WARNING: Your SOA REFRESH interval is : 16384 seconds. This seems a bit high. You should consider decreasing this value to about 3600-7200 seconds. RFC1912 2.2 recommends a value between 1200 to 43200 seconds (20 minutes to 12 hours, with the longer time periods used for very slow Internet connections; 12 hours seems very high to us), although some registrars may limit you to 10000 seconds or higher, and if you are using DNS NOTIFY the refresh value is not as important (RIPE recommends 86400 seconds if using DNS NOTIFY). This value determines how often secondary/slave nameservers check with the master for updates. A value that is too high will cause DNS changes to be in limbo for a long time.
Any clues on what the cause of this might be would be greatly appreciated. And in the meantime send us in your screenshots…
Afterall we really do need to know who George is
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