Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Marching for Social Security and Medicare: A parable for today

A parable for today:

They marched for women's rights, but I didn't march, because I'm not a woman.

They marched for high-quality public education, but I didn't march, because my child is an adult.

They marched for Black Lives Matter, but I didn't march, because I'm not Black.

They marched for equal rights for those who are LGBTQ, but I didn't march because I'm straight.

But then they wanted to privatize my Social Security and Medicare, so I organized a march. And I thought, nobody's going to show up for my march because I didn't show up for their marches. But there they were, women and men, teenagers and adults, Blacks, Whites and even LGBTQ folks. I was pleasantly surprised. I asked one of the young marchers, "Why are you here? You're not going to get Social Security for many years." She replied, "You don't understand. We don't march just to help our situation, we march for everyone!"

(This was originally posted on my Facebook page January 24, 2017. Yes, I wrote it.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Most verbose Nigerian 419 message ever

Looking through my Gmail spam folder, I found this gem which I'm calling the "most verbose Nigerian 419 message ever." A Nigerian 419 scam is one where someone wants your help in moving a large amount of money from their country to the U.S. Of course, you will never see a penny of the money; you will lose money instead in paying fees to get the money to you. An alternative name for these scams is "advanced fee fraud."

Note the red flags: The person writing to you is proposing to do something illegal (and it may be illegal if you participate). Even though they are doing something illegal, they are trusting you with a large sum of money (which you could just keep and not pay them a cent). There are general descriptions instead of specific ones ("The Security Firm" Which security firm?). Finally, you have to assume that they only sent one copy of this message and not a million copies.

It is unusual with these scam emails to not have a email or phone number to respond to in the body of the message. So I sent a standard reply. The reply-to address was I will update this post if there is any further information about this. (I am humored by the participation of Gmail in this little scam.)

In replying to this, I am confirming my email address to the scammer (not recommended). They can then sell this to others who may try other schemes to separate you from your money. However, I'm not worried as Gmail has excellent spam filtering and I expect any other messages to go straight to my Spam folder.
Sun, Nov 12, 2017 at 8:01 PM EST
Dear Mr. Graham,

I read your message with interest. As a noted business person, I receive requests like yours frequently. Because of the volume of requests that I receive, I require a minimum of $30 million be involved for my participation. Your proposal falls short.


Bruce Hobbs

Here is the original message, in all its glory (including formatting, spelling and grammatical errors).

From: Danny Graham <"www.">

Date: Sat, Nov 11, 2017 at 6:42 PM EST


I am Danny Graham of HSBC Bank, United Kingdom . I am contacting you concerning a deceased customer and an investment he placed under our banks management three years ago, and I would respectfully request that you keep the contents of this mail confidential and respect the integrity of the information you come by as a result of this mail. I am contacting you independently of our investigation and no one is informed of this communication. I would like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you.In the year 2004, the subjects matter; came to our bank to engage in business discussions. He informed us that he had a financial portfolio of Twenty Seven Million three hundred and seventy Thousand United States Dollars, which he wished to have us turn over(invest) on his behalf.

I decided to treat his case personally; I made numerous suggestions in line with my duties as the de-facto chief Intermediary Sales department of the bank, especially given the volume of funds he wished to put into our bank. We met on numerous occasions prior to any investments being placed. I encouraged him to consider various growth funds with prime ratings. The favoured route in my advice to customers is to start by assessing data on 6000 traditional stocks and bond managers and 2000 managers of alternative investments. Based on my advice, we spun the money around various opportunities and made attractive margins for our first months of operation, the accrued profit and interest stood at this point at over One million United States Dollars, this margin was not the full potential of the fund but he desired low risk guaranteed returns on investments.

In November 2005, he asked that the money be liquidated because he needed to make an urgent investment requiring cash payments in Finland . Where he said, he is investing with a Firm that is building a housing estate outside Helsinki for the government of Finland . He directed that I liquidate the investment and deposit the funds with a security firm. I informed him that Custodian trust vault commission would have to make special arrangements to have this done and in order not to circumvent due process, the bank would have to make a 9.5 % deduction from the funds to cater for banking and statutory charges. He complained about the charges but later came around when I explained to him the complexities of the task he was asking of us.

Cash movement across boarders has become especially strict since the incidents of 9/11. I contacted my affiliate and made the funds available to a security firm. I undertook all the processes and made sure I followed his precise instructions to the letter and had the funds deposited with the security firm.The Security Firm is a specialist private firm that accepts deposits from high net worth individuals and blue chip corporations that handle valuable products or undertake transactions that need immediate access to cash. This small and highly private organization is familiar especially to the highly placed and well-connected organizations. In line with instructions, the money was deposited with the security firm. The Customer told me he wanted the money there in anticipation of his arrival from Norway later that week. This was the last communication we had, this transpired around 25th February 2006.In June last year, we got a call from the security firm informing us about the inactivity of that particular po

This was an astounding position as far as I was concerned, given the fact that I managed the private banking sector I was the only one who knew about the deposit at the security firm, and I could not understand why the Customer had not come forward to claim his deposit. I made futile efforts to locate the Customer. I immediately passed the task of locating him to the internal investigations department of Custodian trust vault commission Four days later, information started to trickle in, apparently our client was dead. A person who suited his description was declared dead of a heart attack in canne, in southern part of france . The body was identified and the cause of death was confirmed. The bank immediately launched an investigation into possible surviving next of kin to alert them about the situation and also to come forward to claim his estate. If you are familiar with private banking affairs, those who patronize our services usually prefer anonymity, but also some levels of detachment from conventional

My official capacity dictates that I am the only party to supervise the investigation and the only party to receive the results of the investigation What this means, after investigating the last batch of names forwarded to us as possible relatives, we have come to the conclusion that our dear late fellow died with no known or identifiable family member. This leaves me as the only person with the full picture of what the prevailing situation is in relation to the deposit and the late beneficiary of the deposit. According to practice, The Security Firm will by the end of this year broadcast a request for statements of claim to Custodian trust vault commission, failing to receive viable claims they will most probably revert the deposit back to Custodian trust vault commission. This will result in the money entering the accounting system and the portfolio will be out of my hands and out of the private banking division, HSBC Bank.

This will not happen if I have my way. What I wish to relate to you will smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something. It is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of private banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those that occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios. You should have begun by now to put together the general direction of what I propose. There is Twenty Seven Million three hundred and seventy Thousand United states Dollars deposited in a security firm, I alone have the deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as Custodian trust vault commission is concerned. The transaction with our late customer concluded when I sent the funds to the security firm, all outstanding interactions in relation to the file are just customer services and du e process. The security Firm has

They are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that come forward. This is the situation. This bank has spent great amounts of money trying to track this man's family; they have investigated for months and have found no family. The investigation has come to an end. My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position to instruct the security Firm to release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relative. Upon receipt of the deposit I am prepared to share the money with you. That is: I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you and share the proceeds with you in a percentage we will arrive at taking into consideration our individual level commitment. I would have gone ahead to ask that the funds be released to me, but that would have drawn a straight line to me and my involvement in claiming the deposit. But presenting you as a relative with the right to claim the deposit as a next of kin will mask my i nvolvement and participation in d

If my offer is of no appeal to you, delete this message and forget I ever contacted you. Do not destroy my career because you do not approve of my proposal. You may not know this but people like myself who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector. I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move. Such opportunities only come ones' way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by, for once I find myself in total control of my destiny. These chances won't pass me by. I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me let me know and let me move on with my life but do not destroy me. I am a family man and this is an opportunity to provide them with new opportunities. There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking. I have evaluated the risks and the onl y risk I have here is from you re

Please, again, note I am a family man; I have a wife and children. I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold. This is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients. Do not betray my confidence.

Danny Graham
First response from Mr. Graham, if that's his real name. Note that this is a fixed-width message, in contrast to the original which wasn't:

Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 3:43 PM EST

Dear Mr. Bruce,

I received your mail and clearly understand your point. But you should
understand that money is money and no money is a waste. Its an added
advantage no matter what you get out of it. This transaction I
presented to you is over $27million and I think its a good deal for
someone like me who sees this as a golden opportunity to live a much
more comfortable life even though am a banker. I am the assigned case
officer to this deposited funds by the bank all because I facilitate
the process of the deposit with the deceased client with the
institutions he finally kept the funds for safe keeping.

It will be a great deal, if you choose to assist me in this matter and
you being a business man is an added advantage for this to be
successful after I make the presentation in your name. I am here for
business and not for jokes or any child's play.

Thanks and waiting.

Second response from Mr. Graham:

Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 5:28 PM EST

Hello Bruce,
I communicated back to you and sent you the information required for
us to start up the process till now, nothing was heard from you and I
had already informed the bank today that I had found a kinship to the
Deposit of the Late. Ronald Manoor and authorization had been given
officially to make the presentation to the custodian trust as
presented before the bank.

Till now, am waiting to receive the details from you so as to start
the presentation and by this mail, I expect your earliest response.

My second response:

Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 3:07 AM EST

Mr. Graham,

I'm sorry it took me so long to respond as I have been busy with other business dealings. I must have missed the information needed to start the process. Please send it to me again. I'm still uncertain of my participation, though.


Bruce Hobbs
Third response from Mr. Graham:

Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 4:16 PM EST

Thank you Bruce. I need you to send me your details such as your names
in full , residence contact address, telephone and mobile numbers,
occupation and age, also, a brief biography of you . These details
will be used to write a letter of introduction and authorization in
your name and sent to the custodian trust and at their acceptance, all
necessary proofs needed for us to start up and move forward with
coordinating the transaction will be sent to you for the proceedings
with the custodian trust which is the agency in custody of the said

I wait earnestly for your mail.

Danny Graham.
My third and final response:

[Note that each response is being appended to all the previous email messages. So this message thread is getting longer and longer. My third response, which included another spam message that came from the same email address as Danny's first message, added even more to the length.]

Thu, Nov 16, 2017 at 9:18 PM EST

Mr. Graham,

I received the offer below recently but I just noticed it today. At $12 billion, is certainly more than $30 million. I will consider this offer instead of yours. Please let me know if you have a subsequent fund that is $30 million or more. I hope I haven't taken too much of your time.


Bruce Hobbs

Offer received recently:

Date: Mon, Nov 13, 2017 at 7:44 AM

Subject: $12,000,000,000.00 USD Payment notification from Royal Bank Of Canada (RBC).

(RBC) Royal Bank Of Canada.
1122 International Blvd. Burlington,
Ontario L7L 6Z8 Canada.
Email: (royalbankofcanada2017@yahoo. com .

$12,000,000,000.00 USD Payment notification from Royal Bank Of Canada (RBC).

Dear Beneficiary

The Board of Trustees and Management of (RBC) Royal Bank Of Canada wish to
officially inform you today that your outstanding Coca-Cola Company Winning
fund valued at the total sum of US$12,000,000,000.00 (Twelve Billion United
States Dollars) which was deposited with our bank here in Canada to your name
many years ago has been legally approved and Authorized by the European Union
committee on Foreign Payment Resolution, following with the payment release
letter we received from the Canadian Finance Ministry and Canadian Ambassador
to U.S, for onward transfer, therefore, an instruction to credit your fund
been given to this Bank by the (FRB) Federal Reserve Bank Of Scotland for
immediate release of your fund to your bank account.
Be informed that your fund transfer notification latter has been forwarded to
the Central Bank Of Canadian and to the General Director Of (I.M.F)
International Monitoring Fund Office in America for final approval, and this
because to transfer such huge amount of money we really have to notify every
offices that is concern in any International fund transfer that is moving out
of Canada just to avoid any problem when making the payment to your bank
account, but we have successfully gotten some of the fund release approval
documents from the legal department regarding this transaction.
Note that the (RBC) Royal Bank Of Canada Established in Ontario as of 1782 by
Charles III, today the bank is a member of the Canadian System of Central
Banks. It is also the national supervisor of all the banking system around
Canada, and as such any transaction made out of this bank must go successfully
into the beneficiary's bank account without any hitch, and be informed that
every documentations required in your fund transfer must be fully secured and
send to you as soon as possible for proof and file keeping before we can
However, we the Royal Bank Of Canada hereby advise you to quickly reconfirm
your full banking information to this bank before we can proceed with the
process of your fund, and this is to avoid any mistake or wrongful
and we will not be responsible for any lost of fund, so as a result of this we
now advise you to kindly get back to us with your Residential Home Address and
your complete Banking details as to enable the management of this bank
facilitate the smooth release of your fund to your account.
Upon the confirmation of your full details as instructed we will send our Bank
Attorney to proceed with securing of the necessary legal documents in your
with immediate effect, and note With the transfer arrangements in place, you
are advised to send your
Mandatory Endorsement fees which include, Fund Registration Fee Documentation &
Stamp Duty Fees and Cost of Transfer Immediately as requested by the Department
of Finance and International Remittance Department Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
in accordance with the
stipulations and foreign transfer regulation act. The Total fees for your fund
are $55.00USD as indicated.You should be aware of the fact that your prize
money is under insurance coverage and as result of that the transfer charges
cannot be deducted from the winning sum until your prize money is transferred
to you wholesomely without tampering by any person, no charge/charges can be
withdrawn or deducted from your winning fund until the fund is transferred into
your nominated bank account.
kindly send the funds directly to our attorney in Benin, your lottery Agent
Johnson Ife to pay to usand he has to come with the money including the Power
of Attorney to our bank, pay the charges and Sign the release order and other
necessary document on your behalf. You will receive the MT55 payment
confirmation slip of your fund on your conclusions with sendingthe requested
Fund Registration Fee, Documentation & Stamp Duty Fees and Cost of Transfer
Money transfer Advice is below please...
Receiver's Name__peter onu
Republic. Country _Benin Republic
Amount: $55 US dollars
After paying the fee, send me the payment slip confirmation of the transaction
for record
Sender's name........
Sender's address.......
Sender's telephone.....
We do not accept Bank Certified Drafts, Cheques, Credits or Cover Notes in
reference to the above payment as funds below USD10, 000 are made payable via
Cash Counter Payment.
We awaiting your immediate response with your information to enable this bank
proceeds with the transfer of your approved fund and serve you better as we
were directed by the Canadian Government.
Thank you for choosing Royal Bank Of Canada.
Yours Faithfully,

David I Mckay
The President and CEO.
(RBC) Royal Bank Of Canada.
Fourth response from Mr. Graham:

Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 1:05 AM EST

Mr. Hobbs,

You are just been naive over this issues. Who has a deal of $12billion
and how do you move the money without the government of that country
not pursuing you. Well, brother, I have nothing to say, If you can
send over my request, we would start up our transaction and conclude
within a space of days. The forwarded communication stated from Royal
Bank of CANADA is not possible and I will ask my friend who is the
head of International Funds Transfer Unit today but i advise you to
suspend further contact with the said person who claimed to have a
transaction of $12billion , if you are moving $12billion from the
bank, then, how much is the capital base of the bank? Its not possible
brother. Keep your head straight on my side and let's get our deal
started up to a conclusion.


[The Royal Bank of Canada has assets of $1.2 trillion U.S. dollars. $12 billion would be 1% of those assets.]
Fifth response from Mr. Graham:

Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 3:47 PM EST

nothing was heard from you again bruce after my accurate findings which you neglected. Can we work out our deal?

Sixth response from Mr. Graham:

Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 3:49 PM

Though, I have been trying to add up some other deposit within my reach which still belongs to the deceased depositor and that will likely run into $60million.

Can we get talking on the way forward to getting this done?

16 days have elapsed since the first message arrived. Is Danny going to give up now?

Updated November 28 to add more messages and other minor updates

Monday, November 6, 2017

Clairvoyant: I make no such claim



A person who claims to have a supernatural ability to perceive events in the future or beyond normal sensory contact.

So you have to claim to be a clairvoyant to be one (sounds circular to me). I will not make any such claim. Let's just leave it at that.

Updated November 28 to increase the font size.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Jones Act should be repealed

I sent this message to my Senators, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and to my Representative, Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio District 2):

"The Jones Act will saddle Puerto Rico with unnecessary rebuilding costs as materials will need to be shipped to the island. It should be repealed immediately for Puerto Rico and after a period of time (a year?) for the rest of the country. This protectionist act has outlived its usefulness. Thank you."

In case you're unfamiliar with the Jones Act, formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, here's a summary from Wikipedia: It "requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flag ships, constructed in the United States, owned by U.S. citizens, and crewed by U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents." It is a protectionist act and, in my humble opinion, has no place in modern commerce.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Only science can predict an eclipse

On August 21, many in the United States will experience a partial or total solar eclipse. This forecast is brought to you purely by science and math. There is nothing in the Holy Bible, in Christianity or any other religion that has any power or ability to predict when an eclipse will happen.

If you're a science denier, I respectfully request that you not make any preparations for the eclipse and watch it as it happens. To do otherwise is a concession on your part that science does exist and plays a part in your life.

To those who like to pick and choose which science they follow and which they ignore: It doesn't work that way. Sure, science is messy and subject to politics but, ultimately, you have to accept the whole package or none of it.

Stupid headline of the day — July 27, 2017

And the stupid headline of the day goes to Gizmodo for this doozy: "Astronomers Capture Wild Intergalactic Gamma Ray Burst As It Happens."

Anyone who knows science knows that things that show up here on Earth didn't just happen. In this case, the event happened nine billion years ago. Think about that for a second and reread "As It Happens."

Second, you would expect that this observation occurred today, maybe yesterday. No, it happened over a year ago, on June 25, 2016. The thing that happened today is that Gizmodo found out about it and wet their pants over it.

Finally, and I'm grasping at straws here, it took them three minutes into the event to start recording it. What did they miss? They can only guess. They did get some exciting data four minutes into the event.

The story is a great story. It's the click-bait headline I object to. But the headline worked; enough people clicked on it that it showed up in my Google News Feed. Sadly, this is what journalism has become: It's all about how many clicks you get, some from real people and some from bots!

In writing this post, I spent some time on Gizmodo and it does have some good stories.

(I originally posted this on Facebook on July 27.)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Extraordinary rendition of Fethullan Gülen! Isn't that un-American as well as illegal?

Former CIA Director James Woolsey is claiming that Michael T. Flynn discussed the idea with Turkish officials of illegally kidnapping Fethullan Gülen and sending him to Turkey. Gülen holds a Green Card and the possibility of his extraordinary rendition to certain death in Turkey by our government appalls me.

A Flynn spokesperson said that Woolsey's claims were "false" and that "no such discussion occurred."

This was before Flynn was National Security Adviser and he was an undisclosed foreign agent of Turkey, who paid his company $530,000 in fees. Fortunately, Flynn no longer has a direct connection with the Trump Administration. Update from the NBC News article: "The elder Flynn [Michael T. Flynn] was paid $530,000 last year for work the Justice Department says benefited the government of Turkey. The elder Flynn did not register as a foreign lobbyist at the time, but did so retroactively this year. The issue has been part of Mueller's probe."

Are people legally in this country going to suddenly disappear with no trace? I certainly hope not!

Here are a three articles with more information.

● The Wall Street Journal (original article; subscription may be required): Ex-CIA Director: Mike Flynn and Turkish Officials Discussed Removal of Erdogan Foe From U.S.

● The Christian Science Monitor: Could the Trump administration send Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey?

● The Chicago Tribune: Ex-CIA Chief: Michael Flynn's firm discussed removing Turkish cleric from U.S.

Update November 11: NBC News published this article on November 5: "Mueller Has Enough Evidence to Bring Charges in Flynn Investigation."

I thought President Donald Trump was going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. It appears he's adding undesirable creatures to the swamp instead.

Note: This post was also posted on my Facebook page.