…of which more, anon [DOT 15/12/20]

you'd think by now I'd have learned...

…so…yeah…I do pretty much have the usual half-a-gazillion links to add to this

…but I’m going to have to get around to that a little closer to when this goes live than might be sensible because right now I have to confess I basically can’t keep my eyes open

…still…just in case I don’t get that far…or otherwise fail to[…& now they’re open again I still don’t know that I’ll be done by 06:00]…this one has me kinda torn


…on the one hand it seems on the whole to be unfair to the black knight to make the comparison…but on the other hand…monty python?

…much as I do love me some monty python…it isn’t just the election stuff that’s looking like more than a scratch

A Russian mega-hack is further damaging Trump’s cybersecurity legacy

A Russian hacking campaign that breached the Treasury and Commerce departments and ran roughshod through critical companies across the globe is a final stain on the Trump administration’s cybersecurity legacy.
It likely represents the largest known Russian data theft in half a decade and is a sign Trump administration efforts to constrain Russian hacking have been spotty at best.

The hackers were able to access victims’ email accounts and probably made off with reams of sensitive information about internal government deliberations. At the very least, the investigation and cleanup operation will continue well after President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
It was conducted by a division of Russia’s SVR intelligence service cybersecurity agencies have dubbed APT29 or Cozy Bear and was part of the same operation that compromised the cybersecurity firm FireEye, which was revealed last week, Ellen and Craig report. That’s the same group that hacked the White House and State Department during the Obama administration and it was among the groups responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, though it was not responsible for leaking DNC emails to the public.

FireEye and the government agencies were breached through a network management system called SolarWinds, which has extensive contracts throughout government and industry, offering a map of potential victims.

A list of SolarWinds customers on its website includes all branches of the U.S. military, government agencies including the National Security Agency and the Executive Office of the President. It also includes “more than 425 of the U.S. Fortune 500,” as well as all of the top 10 U.S. telecommunications companies and the top five accounting firms.



DHS, State and NIH join list of federal agencies — now five — hacked in major Russian cyberespionage campaign [WaPo]

SolarWinds.Orion.Core.BusinessLayer.dll is a SolarWinds digitally-signed component of the Orion software framework that contains a backdoor that communicates via HTTP to third party servers. We are tracking the trojanized version of this SolarWinds Orion plug-in as SUNBURST.

After an initial dormant period of up to two weeks, it retrieves and executes commands, called “Jobs”, that include the ability to transfer files, execute files, profile the system, reboot the machine, and disable system services. The malware masquerades its network traffic as the Orion Improvement Program (OIP) protocol and stores reconnaissance results within legitimate plugin configuration files allowing it to blend in with legitimate SolarWinds activity. The backdoor uses multiple obfuscated blocklists to identify forensic and anti-virus tools running as processes, services, and drivers.

Multiple trojanzied updates were digitally signed from March – May 2020 and posted to the SolarWinds updates website […]

FireEye has detected this activity at multiple entities worldwide. The victims have included government, consulting, technology, telecom and extractive entities in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. We anticipate there are additional victims in other countries and verticals. FireEye has notified all entities we are aware of being affected.



…still & all…that black knight comparison is more likely to have been aiming at this stuff

Trump has sought for weeks to reverse the outcome of the election with baseless and unproven accusations of voter fraud in the swing states that delivered the victory to Mr. Biden. The president has refused to concede while he and his allies have undermined faith in the country’s democratic system of governance.

Even on Monday, as the electors gathered in states around the country to cast their votes, Mr. Trump tweeted about a “Rigged Election!” and “massive fraud,” allegations that were quickly labeled as “disputed” by Twitter.

Mr. Biden denounced the attacks on voting by the president and his allies, calling them “unconscionable” and saying that no election officials should ever face the kind of pressure they received from Mr. Trump in recent weeks to falsely proclaim the election to be fraudulent.
Anticipating potential complaints from Republicans, the president-elect noted that Mr. Trump and his legal team were “denied no course of action” as they challenged the legitimacy of the election before Republican-appointed judges, with Republican legislatures, and in desperate conversations with Republican officials at the state and local levels.

Biden denounces Trump’s ‘unconscionable’ attacks on voting after Electoral College affirms his victory. [NYT]






Michigan Republican leaders affirm state’s electoral votes and reprimand lawmaker who suggested there might be violence. [NYT]

The Supreme Court declined Monday to revive a Kansas law that required showing specific proof-of-citizenship documents before registering to vote, ending a fight that had continued for years. [WaPo]

…not that you’d know if you only listen to the GOP crazy train, of course




…& that train is still pulling into places that ought to be above its station


The execution of multiple prisoners by the Trump administration in its final days has the potential to be definitive for a president who often tried to paint himself as a champion of criminal justice reform.

Moving forward with the executions of five inmates in President Trump’s lame-duck period is a reminder that his dominant legacy in criminal justice will be his frequent advocacy for the harshest sentences possible.


…& speaking of hypocrisy





Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday predicted that the United States could achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 by “the end of the second quarter 2021” after vaccines are more widely deployed.
Depending on if enough people can be convinced to get inoculated, he said, it could be the case that “sometime by the end of March, the beginning of April, that the normal healthy man and woman in the street who has no underlying conditions would likely get it.”

By late spring or early summer, Fauci hopes the U.S. will attain “that umbrella of herd immunity.”

“By the time we get to the fall, we can start approaching some degree of relief where the level of infection will be so low in society we can start essentially approaching some form of normality,” he told Jackson.

He said that extraordinary public health measures — such as mask usage, event cancellations and enhanced hygiene — will likely continue “several months into the second half and beyond of 2021.”

“Only when you get the level of infection in society so low that its no longer a public health threat can you then think about the possibility of then pulling back on public health measures,” Fauci said.



How Do We Get to Herd Immunity for Fake News? [NYT]

…still a long ways to go & not so much on the short time to get there front


…speaking of which


…sadly it seems like that departure doesn’t actually kick in until Dec 23rd…which still leaves the better part of a month for his deputy (Jeff Rosen) to dance to whatever asinine tune the permenantly-petulant-president pisses away his final days peddling


…but it’s hard not to feel kind of good about the fact the asshole is ditching arguably his staunchest line of defense…which is hard to frame as an act of stable genius when engaged in the indefensible


Proud Boys sparked clashes during pro-Trump rally, D.C. officials say [WaPo]

…& on the subjest of indefensible behavior…I know this had an airing yesterday but just to chime in the chorus


…but this did manage to raise a smile out of me if you can extract it from the paywall…because it’s a pretty decent example of what some of the people I grew up around would euphemistically refer to as “extracting the michael” (…no, really…even rhyming slang was a bit too far for some of them)


…also…while I’m gesturing in the direction of amusement to be found in things that aren’t funny & making allusions to the famous british sense of humour

As the seemingly interminable Brexit negotiations draw to their final conclusion, both Boris Johnson and the EU negotiators are reverting to type. For the EU, this means making – and then withdrawing – an 11th-hour proposal for a “ratchet clause” that would ensure “dynamic alignment” with “level-playing field conditions”. For Johnson, it meant a festival of xenophobia: first insulting the French, then threatening to use gunboats to fight EU fishermen, and finally causing deep offence to Angela Merkel and the German people. It is shaming.



…that second link is a piece penned by one michael heseltine…& for those that don’t know the name it’s worth noting that he served as a tory MP for many years…including cabinet posts in goverments as far back as the years of maggie thatcher


…& you know what…it’s gone 06:00 so I’ll spare you the rest of these links I have sitting around…have a tune or two & talk amongst yourselves?



  1. So according to the AP there were no faithless electors this time around. Biden got his 306 and Trump his 232. If you’re a fan of show jumping like Princess Anne (an Olympic champion and an excellent horsewoman) and I are you’ll recognize that there’s only one more hurdle to go: the official count on January 6 before the joint session of Congress.
    American democracy is clunky but as we’ve been shown in this “Madness of King Donald” period it does prevail. Usually. 

  2. And there it is, I was missing the DOT alliteration: “dance to whatever asinine tune the permenantly-petulant-president pisses away his final days peddling”.

    The link to the New York Times opinion piece by Charles M. Blow is worthwhile reading; he writes, “Trump has realized that trying to steal the presidency is more lucrative than actually being president, so he won’t stop. We are witnessing one of the greatest grifts in the history of the presidency.” That really is the point; Trump revels in gaming the system, any system, and getting away with it.

    • …I always tended to side with the folks that thought that was all he really meant to do by running for the office in the first place…just work that campaign finance system the way his dad milked the public purse, basically…lord knows he has a debt mountain on his back that should be squeezing the life ou of him & he’d already run through pretty much every other scam he’s even halfway familiar with & only succeeded in making it bigger

      …so I’d be entirely delighted if his actually having held-but-not-fulfilled the office turned out to be what ultimately provided sufficient traction to unpick his whole tawdry house of debts in a towering inferno of hubris

      …just wish it hadn’t meant so many people had to suffer & die before we get to that part…because he wasn’t worth the least of them…stilll…better late than never & all that sort of thing?

  3. Why did Barr resign with barely a month left to serve out the term? Did he realize it was over and he had nothing left to gain by staying? Was trump ready to fire him? Or does he know that trump has something treasonous planned that could land them all in prison? I don’t believe there’s anything trump can pull at this point to stop Biden’s inauguration but a crime doesn’t have to be successful to be prosecuted.

    • “I don’t believe there’s anything trump can pull at this point to stop Biden’s inauguration but a crime doesn’t have to be successful to be prosecuted.”
      There’s alllllllways the option of declaring Martial Law,  and the option of finally naming himself (out loud) Emperor-God-King-Ruler-for-Life….
      And/or calling for the nuclear football & using the codes, so that “there’s chaos,” and–again using some sort of Martial Law declaration, he could say that “an official transfer of power can’t happen” because… “reasons”🙃
      None of which would in ANY way be Legal…. 
      But it would sow doubt, and division…. allowing him to be an “Anti-Pope… Anti-President, raising money off his shtick, from the more gullible of his supporters in perpetuity, and paying down/off his personal debts.

        • Moreso, the Ego-stroke, than the grift…
          But the grift IS 100% part of the ego-stroke.
          Acquiring the $$$$ he feels he just deserves, as one *of his social class,* and “as a person of superior intellect” (only in HIS OWN mind–buuuuut that’s the only person who matters to him, anyway!).
          Accepting the $$$$ from his fans–as a tangible example (and a DESERVED one, in his own mind!), of their love of him.
          And also the ego-strokes of “pulling one over” on folks he sees as”dumb,””easy marks,” stupid,” “undeserving”(unlike himself!), and in the case of the theft/grift of taxpayer $$$ from folks who are NOT supporters–ehe ego-stroke of taking that which he knows he doesn’t deserve, and which he knows that WE know he doesn’t deserve–but that he has the POWER to do *anyway*…
          To loosely  quote the movie Volunteers, “….Money is Power… Power is Power.”
          It’s ALL about his ego being able to lord his power (through/because of $$$$, or in terms of sheer influence), over others.
          His ego supercedes ALL, he’s a goddamn junkie, and he’ll stop at absolutely NOTHING–until he’s dead, to obtain his fix.😕

          • There are a LOT of terribly racist tropes in the movie, but this quote always seemed like a fairly accurate description of capitalism to me–that Business  mostly just boils down to the acquisition of money & power (and the power to make MORE money);


      • I have no doubt that he will try everything. But those are crimes of treason or maybe sedition, and I think not covered by a pardon. And exactly the kinds of things Barr probably draws the line at, if only to save his own ass. I think trump will use Michael Flynn as his proxy to call for an armed insurrection.

  4. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/12/12/coronavirus-deaths-highest-us-rural-republican-leaning-county/3828902001/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
    This showed up on my front page and despite it being a Gannet article it is a bloody tragedy.
    It’s no different than 100 years ago when greedy shitheads and stupid fools denied that the deadly influenza strain was killing them and the ones they loved.   Or some 400 years earlier when the black plague rampaged.
    Having grown up in rural areas as a kid, I know the whole thought process in defying/denying/conceit/sadly yes, racism unfolding in many folks minds except these folks never get that Captain Tripps doesn’t give a shit who we are and what we are.
    We might survive this, but we suffer as we lose a pieces of ourselves when loved ones die more so when they die needlessly and wastefully.  That’s what the fools and morons don’t understand or don’t care.

  5. I think we all agree that one of the main reasons we are so divided and don’t believe in government anymore is the rise of right wing media and the alternate reality it has created.  So, I believe the first thing Biden needs to get done is a “Truth in Journalism” law that requires real sources for stories and not making shit up.  If these guys sue and win, this would be a good start…
    I know it is a long shot and hard to enforce but if we went back to the Walter Cronkite days of fact finding & fulfilling the “first obligation”…
    Also, it is now time to start making Mitch’s life unbearable.  The news does a shitty job of telling people what the Re-thuglicans are really doing and why they won’t pass the HEROES act.  It is not a negotiable point to allow business to disregard employee safety and only helps fucking big business!

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