Interesting & Important News & Analysis, November 9, 2019

This is premature in the extreme.

China, U.S. agree to roll back tariffs as part of trade deal -officials

On top of it, I know that what Trump is holding out for is not good enough. He won’t insist on a single democratic thing. The totalitarian dictator (who wants to rule the world) will be able to go right on his merry way making billions while he brutally prevents people from having any say in anything concerning government.

As for Xi making billions, it doesn’t matter what his salary is. He rules the entire nation. He lives exactly as well as he wants to. Jeff Bezos can’t really live any better than Xi wants to live, at least until the pitchforks come out in either China or the US or both.


This sort of arguing should not exist. We could end homelessness very easily. The only reason we don’t is because of greedy people who fear losing out on making even more money.

Texas governor opens homeless campsite amid feud with Austin


As shareholder support for climate-change action grows, SEC votes to throttle those voices

Investors use proxy advisers, Jackson said, because, “holding executives accountable for the way they run America’s corporations is difficult and expensive, and investors lack the time and money to do it. Today’s proposal imposes a tax on firms who recommend that shareholders vote in a way that executives don’t like.”


Facebook Sues Israeli Cyber Security Co. NSO Over WhatsApp Surveillance

Shir Hever discusses the strategy of the Israeli offensive cyber company NSO, its roots in the notorious Israeli “8200” military intelligence unit, and how it crossed a line that very few companies dare cross.


The differences between Labour and the Conservatives on fiscal policy

The Conservatives have learnt the lesson of 2017, and have ditched austerity in order to offer higher spending to the electorate.They hope voters decide that there isn’t much difference between the two parties on this score. But voters would be wrong to do so. In Labour’s case the extra spending is sustainable, whereas for the Tories it will not be. There are two reasons for this.

The first is that the Tories are not proposing large tax increases, while Labour almost certainly will – in the last election corporation taxes and taxes on high earners. (In 2017 the IFS suggested their match between extra current spending and higher taxes wasn’t perfect, but they agreed Labour would keep within its fiscal rule, which is what matters.) That means for a given fiscal stance Labour should have more money to spend on non-investment public spending than the Conservatives. And, assuming there is no collapse in demand ahead, their fiscal stance is now similar. (If there is a collapse, see below).

The second reason is Brexit. The Tories have negotiated a very hard Brexit, leaving the Customs Union and Single Market. I have argued that Brexit will not happen under Labour, but even if it did a much softer Brexit means less economic damage. Soft or no Brexit means higher incomes under Labour which in turn means higher taxes, and so higher spending.

What the Tories are counting on is that analysis by the IFS and others of the two party’s programmes will ignore the second difference, and use a common baseline (as the Resolution Foundation does here). Once you factor in Brexit, the Tories extra spending is unlikely to be sustainable. They willl be forced to raise taxes or cut spending to keep to their current balance target. It will be even worse if Johnson throws in some last minute tax cuts in a desparate attempt to ensure he gets a majority. The OBR might have shown all this in its budget forecast, but the budget was conveniently postponed.

Not only will Labour spend more on day to day government expenditure, but they also plan a much more radical increase in public investment spending. Whether you think that is a good idea will depend on how seriously you take the need for a Green New Deal, how much you want to reduce regional inequalities and how much social housing you want the government to build, among other things. That will mean more borrowing under Labour, but public investment of this kind should be financed by borrowing. No one should argue we cannot invest to reduce climate change because it means borrowing more!


Dispute Erupts Over Radios Utility Workers Use in California Wildfires

In 2008, Hytera hired three Motorola Solutions engineers who had worked at the company’s Malaysia facility. Hytera contends it didn’t know the three men had downloaded thousands of pages of internal Motorola Solutions documents until after the suit was filed. The men left Hytera last year.

Hytera said the supposed secrets Motorola Solutions says were stolen were publicly known and were just part of the Digital Mobile Radio standard. Hytera conceded certain lines of source code were copied, but says it was so little that it didn’t amount to an infringement.

“… certain lines of source code were copied, but … it didn’t amount to an infringement”? Really? It’s not the quantity that counts. It’s the ingenuity and code’s capability.


How Plaintiff Lawyers Help Corporate America Keep its Secrets

The secrecy exacts a heavy toll. In just a handful of cases Reuters analyzed, hundreds of thousands of people were killed or seriously injured by allegedly defective products – including cars, drugs and guns – after judges allowed litigants to file under seal evidence that could have alerted consumers and regulators to potential danger.

For help drafting the narrower protective order, Holland turned to Public Justice, a nonprofit organization that intervenes in cases to get court records unsealed. The group has developed a model protective order that lays out narrow definitions of what can be marked confidential and makes clear that simply marking a document as confidential is not a sufficient reason to later file the information under seal during court proceedings.

As the first and sometimes only people to know that potentially life-saving documents are being sealed, plaintiff lawyers should be the “first line of defense” against harmful secrecy, said Jennifer Bennett, a lawyer with Public Justice.


In Colorado, 24 High-Hazard Dams Are Seen as Problematic

Emergency plans obtained by the AP indicate that thousands of people living and working downstream could be at risk if those dams were to catastrophically fail, while separate inspection reports cite a variety of problems.


As Paradise Rebuilds, a Divide Over Safety a Year After Fire

“We’re not going to keep fires from burning through Paradise, so whatever they build up there should be something that can survive a wildfire,” Lunder said. “But just building a bunch of wooden houses out in the brush, we already saw what happened.”

… Paradise adopted only seven of 15 proposed fire safety standards and changed four of those it accepted.


Insurance agent admits to pocketing money meant for local business


Santa Barbara insurance agent arrested after allegedly leaving a client uninsured during 2018 mudslides


Ringleader of family arson crew pleads guilty in $4 million Operation Firebird insurance fraud case

Tyler Chen, 48, pleaded guilty this week in the Santa Clara County Superior Court following his arrest on multiple felony counts of insurance fraud and arson for his role in setting fires in a $4 million fraud scheme. His wife, Kim, 45, also pleaded guilty this week on multiple felony counts.


Boosting Resilience to U.S. Wildfires Should Be Insurance Industry Priority: I.I.I.

The I.I.I.’s paper said insurers are encouraging customers to harden their homes by installing Class A fire-rated roofs, metal screens which cover all vents, and double or multi-paned tempered glass windows. “Creating what’s called a defensible space around a structure can significantly reduce the risk of embers and surface fires spreading and igniting the structure.”


Walmart Settles Lawsuit Against Tesla over Rooftop Solar Panel Fires

… Musk said a settlement with Walmart would include third-party inspections and repairs. “Tesla will pay for the third party,” he said.


PG&E Extending Deadline for California Wildfire Damage Claims

… many wildfire survivors – still traumatized and struggling to get back on their feet – weren’t aware of their right to file a claim.


UT/TT Poll: It’s a Highly Partisan Issue but Texans Say Climate Change Is Happening

… 42% of Republican voters don’t think climate change is happening.

Cognitive dissonance? How many of that 42% made, or still make, a living off oil?


The Aral Sea Is Dying — A Victim of Environmental Malpractice

Along the Colorado River, climate change is causing aridification—the progression from cyclical drought to a permanent decrease in water—and threatening the welfare of 40 million Americans. In California, the demands of hydropower leaves farmers reliant on limited groundwater. (A study released Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications suggests that solar and wind energy may be able to take some of the load from hydropower, freeing up surface water for agriculture.)


Are Employees Pushing Insurers to Shun Coal in Climate Change Movement?


Ex-Tennessee Agent Indicted On More Than 70 Charges, Accused of Premium Theft


New Megacortex Ransomware Changes Windows Passwords, Threatens to Publish Data

If the MegaCortex actors are actually copying data, though, victims will now have to treat these attacks as a data breach going forward instead of just a ransomware infection.

This will ultimately add a whole new layer of complexity and risks to these types of attacks.


Specially Crafted ZIP Files Used to Bypass Secure Email Gateways


Trees Are Healing Our Planet

… there are many challenges with planning landscape-level projects decades into the future, especially as climate change alters local growing conditions. And unless the underlying causes of past deforestation are addressed, any new trees planted may suffer the same fate as the ones they are replacing.

So before we all stick shovels in the ground, we decided to take a look at some examples of resilient reforestation efforts and why they worked.


Fishery collapse ‘confirms Silent Spring pesticide prophecy’

Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, her seminal book on the dangers of pesticides in 1962. In their report, the Japanese researchers said: “She wrote: ‘These sprays, dusts and aerosols are now applied almost universally to farms, gardens, forests and homes – nonselective chemicals that have the power to kill every insect, the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, to still the song of birds and the leaping of fish in the streams.’ The ecological and economic impact of neonicotinoids on the inland waters of Japan confirms Carson’s prophecy.”


Is the Run on the Dollar Due to Panic or Greed?

Banks are not serving the real economy. They are using public credit backed by public funds to feed their own private bottom lines.

The whole repo rigmarole underscores the sleight of hand on which our money and banking systems are built, and why it is time to change them. Banks do not really have the money they lend. To back their loans, they rely on their ability to borrow from the reserves of other banks, generated from their customers’ deposits; and if those banks withhold their deposits in the insatiable pursuit of higher profits, the borrowing banks must turn to the public purse for liquidity. The banks could not function without public support. They should be turned into public utilities, mandated to serve the interests of the people and the productive economy on which the public depends.


Sag Harbor School District investigates cyber-attacks on computer system

One of these decades someone besides yours truly will openly link the existence of cryptocurrencies to ransomware attacks and call for the banning of all said cryptocurrencies so the vast, vast majority of said ransomware attacks will stop.


Wood County Schools confirms ransomware attack


Security pros urged to get ahead of incoming BlueKeep exploits


Assange lawyers’ links to US govt & Bill Browder raises questions

Ben Brandon of Mishcon de Reya and Alex Bailin of Matrix Chambers co-authored an opinion article in The Times of London October 24, 2019 in which they repeated William Browder’s fabrications about the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

The article aimed to promote the Magnitsky Act which builds a political wall against Russia. It is based on the fake claim that Magnitsky, the accountant who handled Browder’s tax evasion in Russia, was really a lawyer who exposed a government scam.

Except that is not true, there is no evidence for it, and the lies are documented here. But the Act has prevented the Russians from collecting about $100 million Browder owes in back taxes and illicit stock buys.


Forged in Fire: California’s Lessons for a Green New Deal

… saddled with basic infrastructure made brittle by decades of underinvestment and privatization, combined with powerful market incentives to profit from disaster, they soon discovered that the decks were stacked against those early efforts. That’s why so many in the community have concluded that the impacts of climate disruption simply cannot be handled without big structural changes on the order of a Green New Deal. Some of these investments can be done locally; others will need bold state and federal support.

… it’s harder to feel good about being generous with your home and belongings when you keep hearing stories about the guy down the street who made a killing flipping his house thanks to post-disaster price inflation. Or the people buying up property in smoldering Paradise at bargain-basement prices. Or the developer who was fast-tracking plans to build a gated community outside of Paradise without public input or review — while seemingly having his luxury project subsidized with taxpayer dollars earmarked for disaster response.

It is experiences like these that have taught many Chico residents that, in the real world, climate action cannot be pried apart from the need to transform an economic model that systematically puts private profits above the public good. They have seen firsthand that while most people very much want to help their fellow humans after disasters, sustaining that empathetic impulse beyond the initial emergency takes more than good will. It takes good policy, alongside serious public investments.

Which brings us back to the Chico Green New Deal and its plan for green jobs, public transit, local food, reduced car traffic, and more affordable housing. As Brown puts it, a major lesson from the Camp Fire is that “one of the things we can expect is displacement” — people being forced to move from one community to another. Which is part of why investing in affordable housing is central to Chico’s climate plan.

But that lesson goes well beyond Chico. …

A Green New Deal-style approach — which fuses the battle against planet-warming pollution with the kinds of universalist health, housing, and transit policies that make daily life less stressful and more humane — is not, therefore, one of many possible climate solutions. Having exhausted every other option, it is the only kind of climate response that stands a chance of not going up in smoke.


Fed Goes Nuts with Repos & T-Bills but Sheds Mortgage Backed Securities

So the Fed is increasing its assets in huge post-Lehman-like leaps, with the $184 billion jump in September and the $94 billion jump in October to bail out the crybabies on Wall Street, so that the higher rates in the repo market won’t blow up some over-leveraged hedge funds or REITs that borrow in the repo market short term to cheaply fund their long-term bets.


Testimony bombshell: Obama administration tried to partner with Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian gas firm but was blocked over corruption concerns

So after weeks of Democrats and their media allies suggesting it was a “conspiracy theory” that the U.S. embassy had pressured Ukrainian authorities not to pursue certain investigations, Kent confirmed it.

So, the question comes down to whether the Obama administration was upset that cleaning up corruption in Ukraine wasn’t happening well enough or quickly enough or whether the Obama White House was upset that cleaning up corruption was actually happening too well and too quickly. How do we finally determine which was the real case?

As to those people who bristle at my even questioning the Obama administration’s motives, let me remind them that Obama flat out lied to everyone concerning the US spying on Americans domestically, including those who were not, I repeat, not communicating with anyone outside the US. Let me also remind them that when James Clapper openly admitted he lied, Barack Obama did not fire Clapper. Also, since that time when Clapper admitted it, Clapper has attempted to roll back his admission. When he did that, did you hear anything out of Obama or Biden that either of them disagreed with Clapper’s actions? You did not.

That whole situation was far from the only instance where the Obama administration attempted to get away with lying to everyone. Obama improved on occasion but never fully repented. How he handled the “Russia collusion” allegations at the end of his final term was very bad and quite revealing. I don’t say he was as bad as Hillary Clinton, but he went along with her on it and on other things when he clearly shouldn’t have.

None of it excuses Donald Trump and his loan applications versus his submitted tax forms or that he fired cruise missiles at Syria on the word of al Qaeda and IS members and backers (a clear war crime, among others).

The only way to save humanity from itself is for humans to stop engaging in cognitive dissonance. Face the truth that you’ve been lied to no matter who’s done the lying. Do not go along with lying in some sort of lessor-of-evils scenario. You know the kind of lying I’m talking about. I’m talking about the kind where we can’t exercise truly informed voting without the full truth.


‘Massacre’ of Indigenous Leaders in Colombia Is Result of Broken Peace Agreement

Yet another massacre of indigenous leaders in Colombia has sparked outrage across the country, as the right-wing government of President Ivan Duque faces increasing challenges to his already weakened leadership.


Interesting & Important News & Analysis, November 5, 2019

Serial Arsonist Arrested in Georgia After Setting Three Fires


Houston-Area Residents Get Encroachment Letters as Flood Control Projects Proceed


U.S. Safety Board: No Alert System at Texas Petrochemical Facility Damaged by Fire

The tank began to release the naphtha product, but employees didn’t know it was coming out and no alarms were activated because the “tank farm was not equipped with a fixed gas detection system,” the report said.

Board member Rick Engler said he hopes that part of the investigation includes reviewing the efforts that were made to accurately monitor for benzene and other toxic emissions during the fire.


This article gives solid reasons why Libra isn’t needed anyway.

Will Libra Be Stillborn?

If it offers anonymity to its users, Libra will become a platform for tax evasion, money laundering, and terrorist finance. If, on the other hand, its privacy protections are lax, Libra will give Facebook access to users’ most intimate financial details.


The Browder/Magnitsky hoax is part of the same thread as Russiagate and Ukrainegate. All of it is a continuation of insane US-neocon-imperial ambitions.

Neocons call peace a syndrome.

They are the syndrome.

London Times Runs Fake Browder Opinion Piece


This is disturbing.

Wake-Up Call for Organic Advocates: Synbio Poses Greater Threat than Old-School GMOs

Regulators have abandoned all oversight. Synbio tools and techniques are available to anyone, anywhere, at relatively low cost. Currently hundreds of botanicals are being grown in gene-edited ferments and sold as authentic ingredients. They are cheaper now, but only until agriculture production is put out of business—then the price gouging begins.


New Lawsuit Alleges Ben & Jerry’s Deceives Consumers About Farming Practices

Ben & Jerry’s does have a “Caring Dairy” program that pays about 65 farms a premium if they follow certain farming and labor practices, including cover cropping, reducing pesticide use, and raising workers wages. But that milk is then blended with milk from several hundred conventional farms, which Ehlers calls factory farms that have polluted Lake Champlain.


When history looks back upon our time, it will be concluded that we lived in an anti-precautionary principle era: a very foolish, greedy era.

We Have No Reason to Believe 5G Is Safe

“Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

The scientists who signed this appeal arguably constitute the majority of experts on the effects of nonionizing radiation. They have published more than 2,000 papers and letters on EMF in professional journals.


Scotland restores its peatlands to keep carbon in the ground

Often overlooked as critical carbon sinks, peatlands store at least twice as much carbon as forests.


Liking or not liking or even hating Donald Trump has zero to do with it. We must operate on facts and only facts, substantiated facts.

Debunking some of the Ukraine scandal myths about Biden and election interference

U.S. ethics rules require all government officials to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest in taking official actions. Ethics experts I talked with say Biden should have recused himself from the Shokin matter once he learned about the Burisma investigation to avoid the appearance issue.

Of course that’s correct. I knew Joe Biden was dead wrong when it came out he had done what he did: when he said it himself that he got the investigator fired. Even Hunter Biden questioned his father’s wisdom on it.


Things are looking really, really bad for Joe Biden. Is Joe Biden really saying that he did not know “Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin authorized a court-ordered seizure of Zlochevsky’s home and other valuables” just before Joe started demanding Shokin be fired? If he didn’t ask about how active Shokin was in carrying out the investigation, that’s ineptitude at best. What level of diligence did Joe Biden use before threatening to withhold billions of dollars? If Joe was informed of Shokin’s authorization of the seizures, it goes beyond the mere appearance of a conflict of interest to outright lying.

Hunter Biden’s Ukraine gas firm pressed Obama administration to end corruption allegations, memos show

By early 2016 the Ukrainian investigation had advanced enough that then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin authorized a court-ordered seizure of Zlochevsky’s home and other valuables, including a luxury car. That seizure occurred on Feb. 2, 2016, according to published reports in Ukraine.

The same day that the Zlochevsky seizure was announced in Ukraine, Hunter Biden used his Twitter account to start following Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, a longtime national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who was promoted to the No. 2 job at State under Secretary John Kerry.

The Feb. 4, 2016 Twitter notification from Hunter Biden to Blinken was captured by State email servers and turned over to me as part of the FOIA release.

Within a few weeks of Tramontano’s overture to Novelli and of Archer’s overture to Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden took a stunning action, one that has enveloped his 2020 campaign for president in controversy.

By his own admission in a 2018 speech, Joe Biden used the threat of withholding $1 billion in U.S. aid to strong-arm Ukraine into firing Shokin, a prosecutor that he and his office knew was investigating Burisma.

I don’t think an impeachment and removal effort that’s based mainly upon Trump’s phone call to Zelensky should fly. Trump was well within his official authority in asking Zelensky to investigate. If the Democrats want the US Senate to remove Trump, they’ll have to come up with real crimes on Trump’s part.

Meanwhile, it is more and more apparent to people that the Russia-collusion narrative was based upon a pack of lies and that the Mueller investigation was an illegally constituted fishing expedition.

I wouldn’t like any of it any better if it were a Democrat sitting in the oval office.

Trump hasn’t done himself any favors by passing judgment on Joe Biden either. It’s not smart to get out in front of any legal investigation unless the evidence is prima facie. Trump’s done what Hillary Clinton did toward Trump, something Trump railed against.


“Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist with Friends of the Earth and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC.”

From Russiagate to Ukrainegate: An Impeachment Inquiry

As CIA Director, Brennan made no secret of his efforts to nail the Trump Administration. In the summer of 2016, he formed an inter-agency taskforce to investigate what was being reported as Russian collusion within the Trump campaign. He boasted to Rachel Maddow that he brought NSA and FBI officials together with the CIA to ‘connect the dots.”

With the addition of James Clapper’s DNI, three reports were released: October, 2016, December, 2016 and January, 2017 all disseminating the Russian-Trump collusion theory which the Mueller Report later found to be unproven.

Since 1947 when the CIA was first authorized by President Harry Truman who belatedly regretted his approval, the agency has been operating as if they report to no one and that they never owe the public or Congress any explanation of their behaviour or activity or how they spend the money.

Since those days it has been a weak-minded Congress, intimidated and/or compromised Members who have allowed intel to run their own show as if they are immune to the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Since 1947, there has been no functioning Congress willing to provide true accountability or meaningful oversight on the intel community.


General election news latest: Jeremy Corbyn hits back at Donald Trump for saying he would be ‘so bad’ for country as PM

Are Democrats complaining that Donald Trump is interfering in the UK general election? I haven’t heard any of them doing so. Maybe they have while the MSM has ignored it because, well, “socialism,” not that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a mixed-economy capitalist (at least publicly).


EU condemns new burst of [illegal] Israeli settlement approvals


Iraqi protesters attack Iran consulate in Karbala

More than 15 years after the U.S.-led invasion that overthrew Saddam Hussein, Baghdad and other cities still see frequent power cuts, the tap water is undrinkable and public infrastructure is crumbling. Few Iraqis have seen any benefit from the country’s oil wealth, despite it being an OPEC member with the fourth largest proven reserves in the world.

So, since Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, why did we invade and overthrow him? Why have the people in the US who deliberately lied that Iraq had WMD not been tried for war crimes?


False reporting by Reuters:

Bolivia protests enter third week as Morales faces ultimatum

Morales won the vote with just over a 10-point lead, which gave him an outright win, but the victory was marred by a near 24-hour halt to the count, which when resumed showed a sharp and unexplained shift in favor of Morales.

It is well known by those who followed the election that the “shift in favor of Morales” was due to voting returns coming in from areas that heavily favored him. To call it “unexplained” is false reporting. Reuters does not want Evo Morales to be the President again. Reuters never wanted Morales to be President in the first place. Reuters is neocon. Neocons hate Evo because Evo doesn’t cave to neocon-imperial dictates.


Sanders calls his ‘Medicare for All’ funding plan ‘more progressive’ than Warren’s, and he’s right about that.

Sanders said he believes Warren’s plan might have a “very negative impact” on job creation because of funds it could take from employers, called an “employer Medicare contribution.”

“I think that that would probably have a very negative impact on creating those jobs, or providing wages, increased wages and benefits for those workers,” Sanders told ABC. “So I think we have a better way, which is a 7.5% payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive, because it’ll not impact employers of low wage workers but hit significantly employers of upper income people.”

He gave an example of someone paying $20,000 in “a tax called a premium for the insurance companies” now having to pay a $10,000 government tax instead.

“You’re $10,000 to the good, you would ask me where do I sign up for that?” Sanders said at the time.


I actually agree with the article. It would be far wiser for states to get the federal government to subsidize tenants, developers, and landlords. It’s either that or we provide government housing. We have to do something. It would be unconscionable to leaves things as they are: so many homeless people and others living in substandard housing.

A Two-Tier Apartment Market in the US


Dumbing down due to greed:

This next article is awful. It’s all about putting money above everything else. It’s all about putting money for the richest (who, unlike the rest, made more money by “opening” China) above everything else.

William Watson: How trading with thuggish China helped the U.S.


This one completely ignores all the other reasons states and regions have ups and downs. Consider California. That state has been suffering fires like crazy. Now they are facing blackouts to try to prevent the fires. Why is CA facing such circumstances?

It’s facing them exactly due to what the article’s author complains about: regulations. CA and the rest of the nation and world doesn’t have enough regulations on carbon burning. Therefore, CA’s fire situation is greatly magnified by global warming. Shifting companies around in such situations is really shifting deck chairs on the Titanic.

Truly, libertarian-capitalist never, ever have the right economic answers. Whenever their ideas are adopted, things get much worse in the aggregate. All they can ever do is cherry pick in a fatally flawed attempt to obscure the plague of their greed.

As companies flee blue cities, middle class workers are hurt

Watch what (highly progressive) public banking does for California. Libertarians will see it as the end of their world. It may be.


North Dakota Unveils New Mapping Tool for Flood Risks


An inside look at WP-VCD, today’s largest WordPress hacking operation

… if it’s a shared hosting environment, the malware also spreads to the underlying server, infecting other sites hosted on the same system — effectively penalizing users who invested in their site’s security, only to be outdone by a bumbling webmaster next door.

… because WP-VCD exploits the human factor (users looking to install commercial themes without paying), there’s no amount of patching or firewalls that can prevent WP-VCD infections.

Installing pirated content in 2019 is definitely a security no-no, and should never be done, regardless if it’s a desktop app or a WordPress theme.


Chrome in the zero-day crosshairs


Sextortion scammers are hijacking blogs – and victims are paying up


Frightening new tactic lets hackers steal texts on a large scale

According to cybersecurity company FireEye, a state-sponsored Chinese hacking group [how do they know?] is stealing SMS text messages in a big way. They are infecting devices with malware known as MESSAGETAP and using it to steal messages from high-ranking military officials and government agencies.


Trio of Web Registrars Disclose 22 Million Accounts Breached

Web.com and two of its brands, Network Solutions and Register.com, published identical breach notices, noting “that a third party gained unauthorized access to a limited number of our computer systems.” The incident was discovered on Oct. 16.

In January, FireEye described new DNS hijacking campaigns. The attackers are believed to “have a nexus to Iran,” FireEye wrote.

What makes them say that? What evidence do they have? Why isn’t it included in the article? I’m always suspicious of anyone claiming to know where a hacking attempt originated. It’s way too easy to pretend to be coming from a particular country.


Flood Risk Heightened for California’s Mojave River Dam

… water could flow over the top and erode the dam.

That could threaten Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, Barstow and even the tiny town of Baker, more than 140 miles (225.3 kilometers) downstream.

… “all it takes is one event … one Katrina, one Hurricane Harvey,” Vera said. “These storms are happening more and more, so this is our way of looking toward the future.”


Beware the undelivered e-mail phishing scam