23 October 2016


Have a very 80s video of Roger Hodgson's 80's hit Sleeping with the Enemy (From the former Supertramp lead vocalist's first solo album):

22 October 2016

This is Some Quality Trolling

In an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Donald Trump's claims of a "rigged" presidential election, Russia sought to send monitors to U.S. polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, Russian media revealed Thursday.

The bid was sharply rebuffed by the State Department, and one state election official threatened criminal action if Russian monitors showed up, according to state-controlled Izvestia daily and broadcaster RT.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the Russian effort a "PR stunt" and denied that the United States blocked Russian diplomats from observing the election.

A spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who received a request to allow Russian monitors, called it a "propaganda ploy."

"We've allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia," Meg Casper said. She added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also "told us not to do this."
This is world class trolling, as evidenced by the stupid and self destructive response from the State Department.

The best trolls say something that seems eminently reasonable that triggers a conflict and makes the targets look like complete stooges.

Well played, Vladimir.

21 October 2016

I Think That This Is a Test Run

A major internet infrastructure and DNS provider, Dyn, was briefly taken down by a massive DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack:
Criminals this morning massively attacked Dyn, a company that provides core Internet services for Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify, Reddit and a host of other sites, causing outages and slowness for many of Dyn’s customers.

In a statement, Dyn said that this morning, October 21, Dyn received a global distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on its DNS infrastructure on the east coast starting at around 7:10 a.m. ET (11:10 UTC).

“DNS traffic resolved from east coast name server locations are experiencing a service interruption during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available,” the company wrote.

DYN encouraged customers with concerns to check the company’s status page for updates and to reach out to its technical support team.


The attack on DYN comes just hours after DYN researcher Doug Madory presented a talk on DDoS attacks in Dallas, Texas at a meeting of the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG). Madory’s talk — available here on Youtube.com — delved deeper into research that he and I teamed up on to produce the data behind the story DDoS Mitigation Firm Has History of Hijacks.

That story (as well as one published earlier this week, Spreading the DDoS Disease and Selling the Cure) examined the sometimes blurry lines between certain DDoS mitigation firms and the cybercriminals apparently involved in launching some of the largest DDoS attacks the Internet has ever seen. Indeed, the record 620 Gbps DDoS against KrebsOnSecurity.com came just hours after I published the story on which Madory and I collaborated.

The record-sized attack that hit my site last month was quickly superseded by a DDoS against OVH, a French hosting firm that reported being targeted by a DDoS that was roughly twice the size of the assault on KrebsOnSecurity. As I noted in The Democratization of Censorship — the first story published after bringing my site back up under the protection of Google’s Project Shield — DDoS mitigation firms simply did not count on the size of these attacks increasing so quickly overnight, and are now scrambling to secure far greater capacity to handle much larger attacks concurrently.
I'm not sure if the miscreants intend to mess with the election, or the holiday shopping season, but this could get really ugly really fast.

Google Goes to the Dark Side

The firm that used to have the motto, "Don't be evil," has just decided to renege on their promise not to use personally identifiable tracking:
When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.

The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.
The magic of the market will not fix this ……… ever.

Christie Knew About Bridgegate While it Was Being Planned.

Bridget Anne Kelly just testified that she notified Governor Chris Christie at every step about the lane shutdowns on the GW bridge, though she claims that she actually thought that it was a legitimate traffic study:
In an emotional day of testimony, Bridget Anne Kelly refuted the charges against her in the Bridgegate scandal, telling a jury she told Gov. Chris Christie in advance about the plan to close toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge in 2013, and had gotten his approval for what she thought was a legitimate traffic study.

She denied ever having any knowledge of the bizarre scheme of political retaliation alleged by federal prosecutors.

And she asserted that other higher-ups in the governor's inner circle were all well-aware of what was going on in Fort Lee, long before it played out, and that no one seemed that concerned about it.

"It just wasn't a big deal," she said.


Wildstein said he thought after initial traffic jams in Fort Lee, drivers would adapt and that Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would ultimately be able to take credit for quicker access into New York, Kelly testified.

But first, Wildstein wanted Kelly to talk to the governor, which she did, she testified.

"I said, governor, by the way, I spoke to Wildstein about ... the Port Authority doing a traffic study," Kelly said.

"He said, 'OK, why are we doing this?'" Kelly recalled of Christie's reaction.

After she explained, the governor, at first, didn't "really react."

Then he said he was fine with it. "Typical Wally," she said he remarked, referring to Wildstein's pen name as an anonymous political blogger when he wrote under the name of Wally Edge.

Kelly said the governor told her to run it by O'Dowd.

Within "a few hours," Kelly texted O'Dowd asking for time to talk to him, she said. "I told him that I had spoken to the governor," Kelly recalled.

O'Dowd didn't have any objections, she said.

But the governor did have one question, Kelly said. He wanted to know about the status of his office's relationship with Sokolich.
This makes three witnesses, the 3rd is Mike DuHaime, who have testified that Christie knew about this in advance, and unlike Wildstein and Kelly, he has not cut a deal and is not on trial.

Methinks (me hopes?) that Jabba the Governor is going to jail.

Their Customer Service Will Make Comcast Look Like Tesla

AT&T is looking to by Time Warner cable:
AT&T Inc. is close to an agreement to acquire Time Warner Inc. for about $86 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said, a deal that would create a media behemoth that offers TV, wireless, and the content that goes with it.

The bid values Time Warner at about $110 a share -- 23 percent more than where the stock closed Friday -- and is structured as an even split between cash and equity, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. If accepted, it would cement the biggest acquisition of the year, surpassing Bayer AG’s $66 billion takeover of U.S. seed giant Monsanto Co., announced in May.

Buying Time Warner would give AT&T premium entertainment programming including HBO and the Cartoon Network, which it could offer its millions of pay-TV, mobile phone and Internet subscribers. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has been trying to transform the Dallas-based phone company into a media and entertainment giant, and now has one of Hollywood’s top film and TV producers in his cross-hairs.
What do you get when you juxtapose the customer service cultures of the artist formerly known as Ma Bell with what was formerly the 2nd worst cable company in America?

I think that it would be fair to call this merged company the Donald Trump of communications.

20 October 2016

Tom Daschle Would Suck off a Corpse for a Cheeseburger

Tom Daschle, who never left Washington, DC after losing his bid for reelection in 2004, and has become a lobbying hired gun, and as Matt Taibbi noted in the above hed, has no shame.

Case in point, lobbying Hillary Clinton while refusing to register as a lobbyist:
Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle pushed Hillary Clinton’s top aides to consider supporting a massive health insurance merger for one of his clients — even though at the time he was not registered to be a company lobbyist.

Daschle registered to be a lobbyist for Aetna in February of 2016, which subjected him to disclosure and ethics regulations. However, an email released Thursday by Wikileaks shows Daschle pressing the company’s agenda with political power players in October 2015.

“I wanted to reach out in reference to Hillary’s statements today regarding the insurance mergers,” Daschle wrote to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta on the day Clinton publicly raised questions about the merger. “I certainly understand her concerns over the pending deals. I’ve been working with Aetna on ACA [Affordable Care Act] involvement for the past several years. That has led to other health related matters including the merger. Their team has what they view to be compelling arguments around the benefits of the Humana merger and why it will be beneficial for consumers.”

Then Daschle said: “Would you and your team be willing to have a conversation with them?”

Clinton's campaign ultimately declared its support for a Justice Department lawsuit aimed at blocking the merger.

In 2015, a joint study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation spotlighted how many former members of Congress appear to be circumventing ethics rules by working in government relations on behalf of corporate clients, but not registering as lobbyists.

Daschle's wife — a former federal aviation regulator-turned-airline lobbyist — opened her own lobbying firm in 2008.
This isn't just an ethics issue.  It's what I call back loaded bribery, and it is a cancer on the American body politic.

I Want to Move to Iceland, Part XLII

In Iceland, the Pirate Party is leading the polls, and they have announced that they will not be in coalition with either of the current ruling parties:
Iceland’s Pirate Party (‘Píratar’) has issued an up-front refusal to work with either of the two current governing parties after the next elections – in a move unprecedented in Icelandic political history.

“These early elections have come about as a result of the corruption revealed to the world by the Panama Papers,” explains Pirate MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir. “Five ministers have been exposed as corrupt since the current government took power.”

“In some of the biggest protests in Icelandic history, the public expressed their desire for change,” she says.

In a press conference yesterday, the Pirates ruled out any possibility of entering a coalition with either of the current two governing parties, the centre-right Independence Party (‘Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn’) and the centrist Progressive Party (‘Framsóknarflokkurinn’).

Instead, the Pirates have sent a letter to a leaders of the three other opposition parties currently with MPs in the Icelandic Parliament (‘Alþingi’) and to the brand-new Regeneration (‘Viðreisn’) party, inviting them to pre-election coalition talks.
The may be aided in their goal by a surge in the polls by the Green Party:
A brand-new opinion poll now gives Iceland’s Left-Green party (‘Vinstrihreyfingin – Grænt framboð’) a 19.2% share of the vote – four points higher than in the previous similar poll.

The latest survey, conducted by Icelandic daily Fréttablaðið (link in Icelandic) and dated 17-18 October, puts the Left-Greens hot on the heels of the second-place Pirate Party (‘Píratar’).
Iceland is perhaps is the only nation on earth that has actually experienced meaningful and positive political change as a result of the financial crisis, as opposed to the rest of the world, which has given us, Nigel Farage, Marine le Pen, Gert Wilders, Frauke Petry, Donald Trump, and those of a similar ilk.

New Jersey is a Strange Place

Chris Christie finally has a criminal summons filed against him.

It wasn't a prosecutor who did this, it was a retired fire-fighter who took this to court:
A New Jersey firefighter succeeded where federal prosecutors failed: He brought criminal charges against Gov. Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal.

A Bergen County courtroom echoed with cheers after Judge Roy McGeady signed off Thursday on the criminal summons presented by retired smoke-eater William Brennan.

Brennan and lawyers for the governor are due back in court Oct. 24 over Christie’s alleged role in the vindictive George Washington Bridge lane closures.

“Now he’s defendant Chris Christie,” said Brennan, a former Teaneck firefighter. “He did exactly what is charged, and I have the evidence to prove it.”

McGeady found probable cause to proceed on the complaint from Brennan, who claims Christie knew about the shutdown — and did nothing to reopen the bridge.


The criminal complaint described the politically motivated gridlock as an “intentional evil-minded act taken by public officials acting on the authorities vested in them by the office of governor.”
It's not a surprise that it wasn't a DA who did this:  Chris Christie appoints them all.

They work for him.

Yet another thing that needs to be fixed in New Jersey government.

The 3rd Worst Job on Earth

Tasmanian Devil Milker:
Milk from Tasmanian devils could offer up a useful weapon against antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to Australian researchers.

The marsupial's milk contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA, say the Sydney University team.

Experts believe devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger.

The scientists are looking to make new treatments that mimic the peptides.

They have scanned the devil's genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.
Milking a Tasmanian Devil is not high on my list of career options.

Tweet of the day

I didn't watch the whole debate, and what I did watch was influenced by copious quantities of alcohol, but my impression was rather similar.

Remember, It's All About Artist

Harry Shearer has launched a $125 million fraud and contract-breach lawsuit against Vivendi and StudioCanal over the 1984 rockumentary classic This Is Spinal Tap. The complaint, filed Monday in California federal court, is packed with enough nuggets to instantly make this a must-watch "Hollywood accounting" case. Through the lawsuit, Shearer also reveals he is attempting to claw back rights to the film and its continually popular soundtrack.

Shearer, perhaps best known for the 23 characters he voices on The Simpsons, co-created the semi-fake band Spinal Tap in the 1970s with Christopher Guest and Michael McKean. The film, directed by Rob Reiner and featuring Shearer as bassist Derek Smalls, was produced and released by Embassy Pictures. After a series of transactions, rights to Spinal Tap landed in the hands of Vivendi, the French conglomerate that once had the ambitious goal of becoming one of the largest studios in the industry.

Despite the film's legacy and Spinal Tap's enduring success as an actual band able to sell out arenas, Shearer's company Century of Progress Productions alleges that the four lead creatives have received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income in the past three decades from the franchise.

According to the complaint, the original 1982 production agreement called for Shearer, McKean, Guest and Reiner to get 40 percent of net receipts. In Hollywood, though, calculating contingent profit participation often triggers disputes that go up to 11. This one certainly did.


"Particularly given that Vivendi has offset fraudulent accounting for revenues from music copyrights against equally dubious revenue streams for film and merchandising rights also controlled by Vivendi subsidiaries, Shearer is concurrently filing notices of copyright termination for publishing and recording rights in Spinal Tap songs he co-wrote and co-recorded, as well as in the film itself," states the complaint.
$179 after more than 30 years?

Clearly people downloading from the internet are responsible for this.

Quote of the Day

Anyone who believes the United States is not fighting enough wars in the Middle East can be happy this week. We have just plunged into another one. Twice in recent days, cruise missiles fired from an American destroyer have rained down on Yemen. The Pentagon, a practiced master of Orwellian language, calls this bombing “limited self-defense.”
Stephen Kinzer