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So, what’s wrong (technically) with Birther Report?

Perhaps you’ve seen this error message visiting Birther Report, “This website is temporarily unavailable, please try again later.”

image

I’ve been getting it sporadically for a month. Back in April I thought it was a temporary problem either at Google (who hosts the site) or that BR had turned something off for maintenance. One expects Google to put forward a rock-solid blogging platform, so things being messed up this long doesn’t sound like a Google problem. It’s not my local DNS server that’s at fault because I have recently switched to using Google as my DNS server with no change in results. It’s not a denial of service attack, because that would lead to bad performance on the site too-which we aren’t seeing, and I also think Google has the expertise to handily deal with DOS attacks. So what is the problem? Is it a Google conspiracy to thwart the birthers?

Dr. Conspiracy investigates

There are specific instructions to follow if you use your own “custom domain” instead of the blogspot.com domain that Google runs. Part of those instructions involves setting up “A records” with the DNS provider for the custom domain. Those records should point to 4 specific Google IP addresses. Now look at the entry below from Birther Report:

image

The first four A records conform to Google specifications, but Birther Report has a 5th entry that is not a Google IP address, but rather an IP address at SecureServer.net, and if you type that IP address in your browser, you get:

image

One can see the DNS error when it fails by using the PING command. Here it shows www.birtherreport.com being routed to a non-responding server, rather than to the correct Google server.

brping

The problem with Birther Report appearing to be temporarily down is due to a spurious entry in their DNS configuration. When there are multiple entries, DNS servers return IP addresses in a round robin fashion, so 20% of the time, the faulty address will be served (DNS caching can alter the strict round robin addressing). Birther Report is not really down, and it’s not Google’s fault and it’s certainly not an Obot plot.

One can check on the progress of the birther report fix by using the Windows nslookup command (enter at command prompt):

nslookup birtherreport.com

If it returns the 50.63.202.15 address in the list, it’s still broken.

There is a temporary user fix for accessing Birther Report. Go into your “hosts” file and add two entries:

216.239.32.21 birtherreport.com
216.239.32.21 www.birtherreport.com

 

The Windows hosts file is in <windir>\system32\utilities\etc. You’ll have to run your text editor as administrator to change that system file.

I could make some snide generalization about birther competence, but that exercise is left to the reader.

I posted this at BR.

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The results are a bit odd. My attempts to help Birther Report have met with cries that I am a bleeping traitor–but not from the Obots, but from the birthers. BR should appreciate that when a site is unreliable, traffic goes down. I can put an upper bound on when the BR problems started, by looking at the DNS Start of Authority record. Here’s what it looks like in Windows:

image

The entry of interest is “serial” which shows that the last time the DNS was known to have been updated: May 3, 2016. Of course the error could have been introduced before then.

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54 Responses to So, what’s wrong (technically) with Birther Report?

  1. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater May 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    Maybe it has to do with Arpaio being found in contempt? Obviously blew up their website.

  2. avatar
    Yoda May 18, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    I, for one, would hate to see BR go down permanently. There are few sites that offer comedy on a more consistent basis. I can’t wait for them to congratulate themselves for preventing the President from having a third term.

  3. avatar
    Gen_Z impersonator May 19, 2016 at 8:55 am #

    you fucking communists are hilarious,,,

  4. avatar
    Comrade Fogovich May 19, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Do you think that’s why BR only puts up a post every 2 to 4 days anymore? Or is it that there’s just no birther news left, now that Cruz is out? It seems there are only a few birthers left over there. Not that I miss the ones who have gone missing.

    BTW, did you see Ted Cruz’s video “No regrets” or something like that? Quite entertaining, to see him try to simulate a human emotion for the camera. If I didn’t know he’s a reptilian alien from outer space, I might have been fooled.

  5. avatar
    RanTalbott May 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater: Maybe it has to do with Arpaio being found in contempt?

    My theory is that Zullo hired hacking genius Montgomery to purge that story and screw up the website to give him a head start on escaping to Bolivia with the Birfer Bux…

  6. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater May 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    RanTalbott: My theory is that Zullo hired hacking genius Montgomery to purge that story and screw up the website to give him a head start on escaping to Bolivia with the Birfer Bux…

    He’s going to fade into Bolivian

  7. avatar
    gorefan May 19, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Comrade Fogovich: Or is it that there’s just no birther news left

    I think that’s it. Same reason Volin hasn’t had a new show for almost a month.

  8. avatar
    Yarrow May 19, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

    Several “prominent” birthers (including Volin) have abandoned BR because it’s such a poorly-run exercise. The great purge began about a year back with the Sandy Hook conspiracy stuff and the fractures that caused. About a dozen or so posters who were kind of the social glue to the site left after that and the site has gone downhill ever since.

  9. avatar
    James Smith May 20, 2016 at 12:22 am #

    I believe that birther report combative christian enemy site got their ass handed to them… https://jamessssmith.com/2015/04/04/john-woodman-an-epilogue/ or should I say their horses asses handed to them?

  10. avatar
    Pete May 20, 2016 at 12:55 am #

    I could make some snide generalization about birther competence, but that exercise is left to the reader.

    Birthers are incompetent fools.

    Or they wouldn’t be birthers.

    Sort of an “x=x” statement.

  11. avatar
    Lupin May 20, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    Pete: Birthers are incompetent fools.

    Or they wouldn’t be birthers.

    Sort of an “x=x” statement.

    I’d add to that they’re also blissfully unaware of their own incompetence, and if shown proof, will deny it to their dying breath.

  12. avatar
    Keith May 20, 2016 at 2:37 am #

    I have been getting that message with quite a few sites lately. Mostly on my Win10 phone (mobile Edge) but also on my Android tablet (Android Firefox). I don’t remember getting it on my desktop (Firefox).

    I never look at BR, but I have seen the problem on PoliticusUSA and on other sites I can’t remember.

    Hitting retry a couple of times eventually usually get it to work OK, so that would seem to demonstrate the ’round robin’ effect with hitting a dead A-address. Perhaps Secureserver.net is failing?

  13. avatar
    bovril May 20, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Gen_Z:
    you fucking communists are hilarious,,,

    Tut tut,

    You my dear chap are most certainly not Gen_Z, but, based on tone either “William” or “CarpenterPatriot” from BirfoonReport.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 20, 2016 at 7:32 am #

    Who do we know in Missouri?

    bovril: You my dear chap are most certainly not Gen_Z, but, based on tone either “William” or “CarpenterPatriot” from BirfoonReport.

  15. avatar
    Scientist May 20, 2016 at 7:48 am #

    Comrade Fogovich: Or is it that there’s just no birther news left, now that Cruz is out?

    If by “news”, you mean “factually true and novel items” there never was any.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 20, 2016 at 7:56 am #

    I’m thinking not William Richardson.

    bovril: You my dear chap are most certainly not Gen_Z, but, based on tone either “William” or “CarpenterPatriot” from BirfoonReport.

  17. avatar
    Reality Check May 20, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Maybe that extra IP address is the Dell server that’s still in the box in Bob Nelson’s closet? You know, the one he bought with begged Birther bucks after Google shut down his infested blog for a while?

  18. avatar
    Pete May 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    I might visit Birfoon Report once every… six months? just to see if the train wreck is still ongoing. It always is.

    I popped over there just now, expecting to see nothing but bullsh*t.

    Imagine my surprise, when I found… nothing but bullsh*t.

    There’s an article screaming that “Vattel is Law,” and quoting a really authoritative source for this.

    Cornelius van Bynkershoek.

    Yeah, they’re actually trying to use the writings of a Dutch guy who lived his entire life across the Atlantic Ocean in Holland – a distant foreign country – to make the case that Vattel’s ideas of citizenship were law in the United States, and that they defined the terms used in our Constitution.

    Not even Bynkershoek himself came remotely close to making any such claim. Even if he had, it wouldn’t have been worth whatever sheet of paper he never wrote it on.

    It’s like, my god, the stupidity and idiocy and desperation of wishful thinking here just literally boggle the mind.

    And this is a mind that’s been repeatedly boggled before, over the course of years, at birther stupidity, idiocy and desperation of wishful thinking. So you’d think it had become at least a little bit boggle-resistant.

    Now I recall why I visit Birther Report so seldom (aside from the fact that it’s a waste of time). Whenever I do, I invariably come away with a feeling of slight depression resulting from the thought that I, plus my friends, family and everyone I know, are of the same genus and species as these people (and I use that term loosely).

    Okay, I need to go find something more positive to do and cheer myself up.

  19. avatar
    CRJ May 20, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

    That’s great Doc.. May need your help with my job as its very difficult and precarious. Sitting around trying to figure out how to OPEN the EYES of half the Nation that their leading delegate nominee, also a cute 68 year old grandma, is so corrupt she puts Mob Bosses to shame.

    #Democrats #DemDebate #Hillary2016

    Now, you’d think that was easy with several public FBI Investigations and civil bench trials going on, but she’s got more roots in the dirt in that 68 year CRIME spree than Al Capone, I am not kidding., and half the Country so far up her dark ally, their Sun does not shine unless the woman breaks wind.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=iQmh-tf0Vfo

    I mean you’d think it was an easy job, but know she’s had the WHOLE COUNTRY in her Private Server. It’s a BIG COUNTRY, and even with 150 FBI Agents on the job and multiple Courts of Law there is still this incredible resistance one is baffeled with as sympathetic towards Grandma.

    This makes weed and sage pulling in the desert actually a compatible task for the galatically stupid that I feel apart of most days.

    http://codyjudy.blogspot.com/2016/05/bench-trial-beginning-first-witness.html?m=1

  20. avatar
    Joey May 20, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Here in America, we have this concept known as “the presumption of innocence.” Until a person is actually CONVICTED of a crime, they have that presumption, even though one’s political opponents may operate on a presumption of guilt.
    In contrast to Hillary Clinton, former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been tried, convicted and ordered to report to federal prison on June 22nd for banking law violations in conjunction with paying hush money to someone Hastert sexually molested when he was a wrestling coach in a high school.

    Primaries’ total popular vote as of May 20th
    Hillary Clinton: 13,192,713 (55.5%)
    Donald Trump: 11,266,041
    Bernie Sanders: 10,158,889 (42.7%)

    Clinton over Sanders: 3,033,824
    Clinton over Trump: 1,926,672
    Trump over Sanders: 1,057,152

    Hillary Clinton: 1,775 pledged delegates
    Bernie Sanders: 1,499 pledged delegates

    Hillary Clinton: 522 superdelegates
    Bernie Sanders: 42 superdelegates

    Hillary Clinton: 2,297 total delegates
    Bernie Sanders: 1,541 total delegates

    Hillary Clinton: 26 contests won
    Bernie Sanders: 21 contests won

    Hillary Clinton needs about 89 delegates to secure the nomination.

  21. avatar
    bob May 20, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    CRJ:
    May need your help with my job as its very difficult and precarious.

    “Job”? Does leaving comments at Doc’s site pay well?

  22. avatar
    Rickey May 20, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

    CRJ:
    It’s a BIG COUNTRY, and even with 150 FBI Agents on the job and multiple Courts of Law there is still this incredible resistance one is baffeled with as sympathetic towards Grandma.

    You really need to learn to keep up with the news. The report that there were 150 FBI agents working on Clinton’s server was wildly exaggerated and was quickly walked back by the Washington Post. NBC news eventually confirmed that the actual number of agents working on the investigation is more like a dozen.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fed-source-about-12-fbi-agents-working-clinton-email-inquiry-n548026

    And you do realize, I hope, that she has never been formally accused of a crime, much less convicted of one.

  23. avatar
    Joey May 20, 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    Still serious DNS snafus at birtherreport all day today.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    I have serious doubts that the BR commenter Gen_Z is the person who posted the comment below on this blog. It sounds more like Patriot Carpenter, a fellow too poor to afford his own free intense debate account.

    Gen_Z: you fucking communists are hilarious,,,

  25. avatar
    Crustacean May 21, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    When will these clowns ever learn, ending every sentence with “,,,” is a dead giveaway!

    That, and the IP address straight from the Eighth Circle of Hell.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I have serious doubts that the BR commenter Gen_Z is the person who posted the comment below on this blog. It sounds more like Patriot Carpenter, a fellow too poor to afford his own free intense debate account.

  26. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2016 at 12:15 pm #

    I’m old enough to have gone to school when they were actually teaching about Communism, what it was, how it operated, and how to recognize it. I guess that’s not taught any more or people like Patriot Carpenter at Birther Report just flunked their test on that subject.

    Such folks use the WORDs of patriotism, but they are too absorbed in their prejudices, or just too lazy to study the subject and to actually understand the concepts behind the words,. Patriot Carpenter is one who shows special disdain for book learning.

    Claiming to be Gen_Z: you fucking communists are hilarious,,,

  27. avatar
    bob May 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    CRJ: Grandma

    Of all the stupid things Judy writes, this especially dumb: Trump is older than Clinton, and has many more granchildren than her.

  28. avatar
    Rickey May 21, 2016 at 3:52 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I’m old enough to have gone to school when they were actually teaching about Communism, what it was, how it operated, and how to recognize it. I guess that’s not taught any more or people like Patriot Carpenter at Birther Report just flunked their test on that subject.

    Such folks use the WORDs of patriotism, but they are too absorbed in their prejudices, or just too lazy to study the subject and to actually understand the concepts behind the words,. Patriot Carpenter is one who shows special disdain for book learning.

    And then there are ignoramuses who believe that Socialism and Communism are one and the same.

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    Modern right-wing nut jobs remind me a lot of the early Communists in that they too had disdain for learning and expertise. Party loyalty (cf. patriotism today) was the qualification necessary to run a manufacturing plant, not management skills. Masses died of hunger because agricultural policy was made by people who lacked expertise in agriculture. Basically crackpot theories were imposed on Soviet agriculture, rather than tested experimentally.

    Rickey: And then there are ignoramuses who believe that Socialism and Communism are one and the same.

  30. avatar
    Benji Franklin May 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    Lupin: Pete: Birthers are incompetent fools.

    I’d add to that they’re also blissfully unaware of their own incompetence, and if shown proof, will deny it to their dying breath.

    Dear Lupin,
    With way-to-little and overdue respect, I believe that you misspelled the word ‘breadth’.

  31. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 21, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

    There is a temporary fix for accessing Birther Report. Go into your hosts file and add two entries:

    216.239.32.21 birtherreport.com
    216.239.32.21 www.birtherreport.com

    In Windows the hosts file is in <windir>/system32/utilities/etc

    You’ll probably have to run your text editor as Administrator

  32. avatar
    Rickey May 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Modern right-wing nut jobs remind me a lot of the early Communists in that they too had disdain for learning and expertise. Party loyalty (cf. patriotism today) was the qualification necessary to run a manufacturing plant, not management skills. Masses died of hunger because agricultural policy was made by people who lacked expertise in agriculture. Basically crackpot theories were imposed on Soviet agriculture, rather than tested experimentally.

    There is a strong strain of anti-intellectualism on the right. It’s no coincidence that most home-schooling parents are conservative – they believe that all public school teachers are leftist indoctrinators.

  33. avatar
    Reality Check May 22, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    In Windows 10 the hosts file is in /windows/system32/drivers/etc

    Yes, you have to open Notepad as an administrator first before opening the hosts file to edit. I added the entries and it worked without rebooting. Before I couldn’t open BR at all.

    Now I ask myself why I would want to open BR?. 😆

    Dr. Conspiracy: 216.239.32.21 birtherreport.com 216.239.32.21 http://www.birtherreport.com

  34. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 22, 2016 at 5:15 pm #

    Sorry, I don’t do existential questions.

    Reality Check: Now I ask myself why I would want to open BR?

  35. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 23, 2016 at 7:16 am #

    You can lead a horse to water but you can’t male him drink. You can’t lead a birther anywhere.

  36. avatar
    RanTalbott May 23, 2016 at 7:41 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: You can’t lead a birther anywhere.

    I dunno: I’ve noticed several garden paths that have been trodden to the point that their surfaces are packed as hard as rock 😉

  37. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    Point well taken.

    RanTalbott: I dunno: I’ve noticed several garden paths that have been trodden to the point that their surfaces are packed as hard as rock 😉

  38. avatar
    Pete May 23, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

    Reality Check: Now I ask myself why I would want to open BR?. 😆

    Without pain in life, there can be no appreciation of joy.

    This is why it pays to periodically visit Birther Report, or (alternately) to pour boiling water on your foot.

    You feel such joy when it stops.

  39. avatar
    Reality Check May 24, 2016 at 8:31 am #

    Doc,

    I see the birfoons at Birther Report reacted as one would anticipate when you offered your excellent technical advice to fix the blog’s technical problem.

  40. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) May 25, 2016 at 2:42 am #

    Pete: There’s an article screaming that “Vattel is Law,” and quoting a really authoritative source for this.

    Cornelius van Bynkershoek.

    Yeah, they’re actually trying to use the writings of a Dutch guy who lived his entire life across the Atlantic Ocean in Holland – a distant foreign country – to make the case that Vattel’s ideas of citizenship were law in the United States, and that they defined the terms used in our Constitution.

    Not even Bynkershoek himself came remotely close to making any such claim.

    It’s a textbook example for an out-of-context quote. I didn’t even bother getting around their IP ban to comment on this.

    My attempts to help Birther Report have met with cries that I am a traitor

    Two reasons:

    1. That hosts file voodoo is probably going to send Kenyan goat pr0n on their computers, change their next vote to “Obama for a 3rd term” and redirect any calls to BR to “trumpreleaseyourtaxreturns.com”.

    2. To “run your text editor as Administrator”, they had to ask their mother to do it, and she wouldn’t.

  41. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 25, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    One can check on the progress of the birther report fix by using the Windows nslookup command:

    nslookup birtherreport.com

    If it returns the 50.63.202.15 address in the list, it’s still broken.

    It’s still broken.

  42. avatar
    Crustacean May 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

    Rickey: And then there are ignoramuses who believe that Socialism and Communism are one and the same.

    One ignoramus, coming up!! 🙂

    James Smith: I believe that birther report combative christian enemy site got their ass handed to them… https://jamessssmith.com/2015/04/04/john-woodman-an-epilogue/ or should I say their horses asses handed to them?

  43. avatar
    Pete May 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    You told them an entire week ago how to fix their broken web site, and it’s still broken?

    Typical birthers.

    Idiots.

  44. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 25, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    I can’t prove that anyone with the authority to fix the problem has seen the solution. Perhaps I should nudge Nelson.

    Pete: You told them an entire week ago how to fix their broken web site, and it’s still broken?

  45. avatar
    bovril May 26, 2016 at 2:38 am #

    The poster “Gen_Z” pointed out in a post there over 5 weeks ago that the issue was DNS related and that this could be demonstrated using traceroute and nslookup in response to since deleted comments from “wingcommander1”

    What was wrong was in identifying Birfoon Report as a WordPress site not a Blogger site.

    But when has pointing out simple facts ever worked with a birther..?

  46. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    I decided to edit the Gen_Z comment and change the commenter name to “Gen_Z impersonator.”

    bovril: You my dear chap are most certainly not Gen_Z,

  47. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    I see that the BR DNS problem was reported 9 weeks ago, and it seemed to have been an ongoing problem then.

    http://www.birtherreport.com/2016/03/proof-positive-canadian-born-ted-cruz.html#IDComment1017337727

  48. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 27, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    New article on the failure from Gerbil Report with response from Bob Nelson:

    http://www.gerbilreport.com/2016/05/birther-report-site-failures-drag-on.html

  49. avatar
    Arthur B. May 27, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: New article on the failure from Gerbil Report with response from Bob Nelson:

    Am I misunderstanding you? I don’t see his response on the site.

  50. avatar
    Pete May 28, 2016 at 1:58 am #

    Of course deploying the new server would require someone know something about DNS records, which seems to be beyond the technical capacity of the present BR management.

    Oooo. A bit of snark. I like it.

  51. avatar
    Reality Check May 28, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    I have a theory about why BR is letting ant-Birthers, including me, comment there again. I think he makes a small amount of money from the copious ads on the blog. As the Obama birther stuff has faded away the site traffic had to have been dropping.

    This year Nelson has been pumping the Cruz isn’t eligible meme like crazy to keep the interest up. Now Cruz’s campaign is history. Nelson probably decided the conflict in the comments might keep folks reading.

  52. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 28, 2016 at 9:20 am #

    The response is to BR reader complaints, and appears at the end of my article.

    Arthur B.: Am I misunderstanding you? I don’t see his response on the site.

  53. avatar
    bob May 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Reality Check:
    I have a theory about why BR is letting ant-Birthers, including me, comment there again. I think he makes a small amount of money from the copious ads on the blog. As the Obama birther stuff has faded away the site traffic had to have been dropping.

    This year Nelson has been pumping the Cruz isn’t eligible meme like crazy to keep the interest up. Now Cruz’s campaign is history. Nelson probably decided the conflict in the comments might keep folks reading.

    And, in the slightly larger scheme: No one cares what birthers think, especially now. What news “birther” is there to “report” on?

  54. avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater May 28, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

    bob: What news “birther” is there to “report” on?

    March is another 10 months or so