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Posts from — March 2017


Tech Dirt notes that Trump’s Internet Brigades Are Shocked To Realize The Government Just Sold Them Out On Privacy. They just found out that he is more interested in what’s best for corporations than poor schlubs like them.

If you would like some privacy, you could use the Tor Browser, but that wouldn’t be a lot of help. The next step up would be a Tor-Powered Raspberry Pi HotSpot. This would provide you much more protection at a minimal cost.

A bit more expensive would be the Invizbox Go, which provides the ability to connect via Tor or a VPN with minimum fuss. It is about the size of a SmartPhone and battery powered, so you can take it with you and use it with free HotSpots or your home WiFi. The device looks interesting.

Keep in mind that most of these techniques are going to slow things down.

Next up Trump sets his sights on net neutrality – anything to deflect people from the ‘Moscow Connection’.

March 31, 2017   3 Comments

World Backup Day

Today is World Backup Day.

I kid you not – it is a real thing that was noted when I booted my Win 10 box this morning. The calendar program on that machine includes “Geek Holidays”. The date was chosen to forestall problems caused by April Fool’s Day.

I’m about to get started. I was delayed because my blog backup plug-in that updated yesterday, updated again today and the damn thing is larger than WordPress. 😡

March 31, 2017   44 Comments

New Name, Same Crap

SVR Emblem

The KGB was split into two major parts after the fall of the Soviet Union: the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation (equivalent of the CIA) and the Federal Security Service (equivalent of the FBI). The Western media normally refers to them by their transliterated initials: SVR & FSB.

In Charlie Pierce’s coverage of the ‘Moscow Connection’ the Senate Intelligence Committee proves it has some by talking to Clinton Watts. Mr Watts introduces the concept of Active Measures, which, if you follow the link, you will find goes back a long way. Today many people refer to it as ‘fake news’.

Mr Watts also advised the Senators to follow the trail of Russian deaths, which caught my attention. The Independent confined itself to Russian diplomats, but CNN expanded the field, Five months, eight prominent Russians dead. There should be another one, as Russians like threes. To a Russian 2³ is not as good as 3².

Back when I was in the business there were reports that the KGB was funding the Turkish Grey Wolves. A lot of people downplayed the probability because the Wolves were anti-Communists and neo-Nazis. The KGB would do it just to cause instability. It didn’t make a difference if it directly helped the Soviet Union as long as it disrupted their enemies.

March 31, 2017   Comments Off on New Name, Same Crap

He Hasn’t Seen Anything Yet

From CNN International: Trump’s outlook going from bad to worse

As the White House scans Washington for a bounce-back win after the Obamacare imbroglio, the political forecast is promising only heavy weather.

An unappetizing list of looming congressional showdowns, complex, months-long legislative challenges and intractable threats to President Donald Trump’s standing threaten to make the failed health care push look like a small setback.

Charlie Sykes, an MSNBC commentator, scored major points when he said: ‘The only President who has a worse first 100 days was William Henry Harrison.” Harrison died from pneumonia 31 days after he was inaugurated. 😈

Charlie Pierce has even more bad news for Trump and Nunes: The Russian Answers Are Coming.

Michael Flynn has a lawyer and is asking for immunity. Nunes might take that path under advisement, because his current plan is not working.

March 30, 2017   Comments Off on He Hasn’t Seen Anything Yet

Trump’s Fondest Wish

How Henry VIII will help Theresa May navigate EU divorce

(CNN) Theresa May is taking a lead from a frequently divorced former monarch in preparing the way for life after the Brexit break-up.

In order to deal with tens of thousands of EU laws, regulations, treaties and directives that must be incorporated into UK law on Brexit Day, the British government wants to invoke controversial powers that date back 500 years to the time of King Henry VIII.

The so-called “Henry VIII clauses” in the Great Repeal Bill, plans for which were published on Thursday, will give ministers and civil servants sweeping authority to comb through the vast EU legislative soup and decide which bits to keep, which to amend, and which to repeal in their entirety. Crucially, ministers can wave the decisions through without recourse to the House of Commons.

Rule by decree is the goal of all autocrats, and SCROTUS would certainly love to work this way, the way he ran his businesses into bankruptcies. Alas, a version was tried, the line item veto, and it was ruled an unConstitutional transfer of power.

[The International version of CNN is much better than the US version.]

March 30, 2017   Comments Off on Trump’s Fondest Wish

Today’s Bad News

Queensland got mauled by Cyclone Debbie. There are reports of winds in excess of 160mph, structures blown apart, large boats ending up inland, trees toppled, roads blocked, power lines down, – a major mess and no hard numbers on casualties because of a lack of communications in the hardest hit areas.

It is a slow moving storm with lots of rain, so the river flooding is to come.

Meanwhile in Britain Article 50: PM Theresa May signs the letter that will trigger Brexit. The clock has started on the two-year process that will separate the United Kingdom from the European Union.

In reaction to the Brexit process the Scottish Parliament voted to hold a second independence referendum by 69 to 59. The Scots are not going to back off as the SNP [Scottish National Party] believes it will pass this time because of Brexit.

All bad news in the US leads back to the SCROTUS: Trump dramatically changes US approach to climate change. Yes, I would say that denying it exists is a pretty dramatic change, as was putting a pawn of fossil fuel companies in as the head of the EPA.

Meanwhile the House just voted to allow ISPs to sell data on their customers. They joined the Senate and the White House will certainly sign it.

March 28, 2017   8 Comments

Your Alibi Roundup

The first excuse that SCROTUS offered for the miserable legislative failure that was Trumpcare – the lack of Democratic support. This resulted in a stunned ‘WTF?’ pause, and then that “Nasty Woman”, Nancy Pelosi, took a victory lap.

Since that was not the desired reaction, he attacked the House Freedom Caucus and its supporters on Twitter. Surrogates followed up by attacking Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus.

Despite what his voters were led to believe about his negotiating skills, Drumpf is the C.M.O.T. Dibbler of real estate. He didn’t take the time to look at the bill he wanted passed, and wasn’t able to come up a cogent reason to vote for it. His concept of negotiating was a rather arrogant threat to go after people who didn’t do what he wanted.

I realized that this guy only plays the President in movies but he knows how to accept responsibility.

I just found this bit of word fun and liked it enough to buy it. It is descriptive and concise. 😈

March 27, 2017   10 Comments

Debbie Coming Ashore

The coast is already feeling near hurricane strength winds as Debbie approaches. The storm stalled earlier which will reduce the storm surge somewhat by missing the high tide, but it is still a Category 4 and may strengthen before landfall. In addition to the wind and storm surge rainfall totals of up to two feet are forecast, which will trigger inland flooding. The ABC has a continuously updated live blog of the situation.

Meanwhile the Australian Navy’s largest ships are unable to join Cyclone Debbie emergency response amid engine troubles. They are Helicopter carriers, similar to US amphibious assault vessels. Both have power problems, so an older, smaller vessel is on its way to the area.

March 27, 2017   4 Comments

Cyclone Debbie

The Northeast coast of Australia is about to get slammed by Cyclone Debbie which is forecast to be a Category 4 storm by the time it makes landfall in Queensland.

The people on the coast are veterans, but that really doesn’t help – just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you want to do it again.

March 25, 2017   5 Comments

Earth Hour

Earth Hour

It’s simple – turn off the lights between 8:30PM and 9:30PM Local.

March 25, 2017   Comments Off on Earth Hour

The Democrats Did It?

President Trump ‘open’ to healthcare deal with Democrats

In a humiliating setback, U.S. President Donald Trump and Republican leaders pulled their Obamacare repeal bill off the House floor Friday after it became clear the measure would fail badly.

It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House Republicans vote on the legislation Friday, threatening to leave Obamacare in place and move on to other issues if the vote failed. The bill was withdrawn minutes before the vote was to occur.

Trump said Friday in the Oval Office his bill fell short because it lacked support from Democrats, though Republicans control both the House and the Senate.

“With no Democrat support we couldn’t quite get there,” he said. “We learned about loyalty, we learned a lot about the vote-getting process.”

Here’s a hint: the Democrats are the opposition, they are not supposed to vote for your legislation unless you consult with them and allow them to make amendments.

Here is the real problem with the current administration.

A group in Australia found the perfect response for people like Trump.

March 24, 2017   14 Comments

Another Day In Trumpville

Like Father Like Son: Donald Trump Jr. called a ‘disgrace’ for slamming London Mayor Sadiq Khan after attack, Of course he did it on Twitter and he used a partial quote without any context. Anything, no matter how base, to attack a Muslim…

Canada’s largest school board is cancelling new school trips to the United States until further notice.

In a statement released on Thursday, Director of Education John Malloy said that the district school board was faced with “a difficult choice”, with the President Trump’s latest travel restrictions facing an uncertain future pending a number of court challenges.

“We strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border,” said Mr Malloy.

“For the trips that will be continuing, should students with the appropriate documentation be denied entry to the US for no legitimate reason, the entire trip will return to Toronto and will not proceed.”

When you live in a a area dependent on tourism you don’t want to hear this kind of news…

‘The damage is done’: Devin Nunes’s Trump briefing prompts ‘grave’ concerns about credibility. Even John McCain thinks the Congressional inquiry is toast as it stands.

Actually, all that needs to happen is for Congresscritter Nunes to resign from Congress and plead guilty to Obstruction of Justice [talking to Trump] and Espionage [passing classified information to the press]. He really needs to lawyer up.

March 23, 2017   Comments Off on Another Day In Trumpville

Amateur Hour

The BBC reported Rex Tillerson to skip Nato meeting – but visit Moscow

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will miss a meeting of Nato foreign ministers next month, US officials say.

He will instead travel to a G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, and then to Moscow to meet Russian leaders.

Has anyone briefed him on the Administration’s current Russian ‘problem’?

At First Draft Adrastos recounts Tillerson’s rough start. As a diplomat Rex would make a great plumber. What was his wife thinking?

March 22, 2017   Comments Off on Amateur Hour

Real Political Correctness

The BBC notes: US TV host Tomi Lahren ‘suspended over pro-choice comments’

Ms Lahren said: “I’m someone that is for limited government, so I can’t sit here and be a hypocrite and say I’m for limited government, but I think that the government should decide what women do with their bodies.

“Stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well.”

The network’s founder, Glenn Beck, has spoken out against Ms Lahren, and another reporter, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, tweeted: “Even Hillary Clinton didn’t call pro-life conservatives hypocrites.”

Mr Beck also criticised Ms Lahren’s declaration that she had libertarian – as well as conservative – views, which he said did not tally with those of President Trump.

The conservative network describes itself as “a platform for a new generation of authentic and unfiltered voices”.

To summarize, Ms Lahren has been banished for calling people who claim to want the government out of their lives, but insist that the government intervene in the personal health care decisions of women, “hypocrites” and not toeing the line of Trump’s regime.

I would hope that I wouldn’t have to explain the conflict between pulling Ms Lahren’s program and “a platform for a new generation of authentic and unfiltered voices”. 😈

March 21, 2017   Comments Off on Real Political Correctness