Interesting & Important News & Analysis, October 4, 2019

Trump Again Attacks Teenage Climate Activist Greta Thunberg, Who Clapped Back at Him on Twitter Last Week

Change is coming whether they like it or not.


Smominru botnet infects 4,700 new PCs daily

… the botnet uses several methods to propagate, but primarily it infects a system in one of two ways: either by brute-forcing weak credentials for different Windows services, or more commonly by relying on the infamous EternalBlue exploit.

Even though Microsoft patched the vulnerability EternalBlue exploits, which made the WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks possible, in 2017 even for discontinued systems, many companies are simply ignoring updates.

Well, now it’s legal in two states to have a state-chartered public bank or banks. North Dakota has had a public bank since the Populist/Progressive era. Now California, the most populated and richest state in the US, will have a public bank or banks. Wall Street will scream! They’ll try to get the federal government to ban such public banking. Will they succeed? There’s a nationwide public-banking movement. If Texas and Florida get on board … with California? Anyway, public banking is very likely to come soon in a number of more progressive states.

Historic step forward: Gov. Gavin Newsom signs the Public Banking Act into California law! – Public Banking Institute

Speaking of public banking:

We need a democratized Green Investment Bank for a just transition


The unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 136,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in health care and in professional and business services continued to trend up.

The labor force participation rate held at 63.2 percent in September.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $28.09, were little changed (-1 cent), after rising by 11 cents in August.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in September.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from +159,000 to +166,000, and the change for August was revised up by 38,000 from +130,000 to +168,000.

Zendesk Security Breach May Impact Orgs Like Uber, Slack, and FCC

Customer service software company Zendesk has published a blog post today and is sending users notifications regarding a security incident that might have impacted roughly 10,000 Zendesk Support and Chat accounts activated prior to November 1, 2016.

FBI Warns U.S. Organizations About High Impact Ransomware

Whatever you do, don’t pay the ransom

FBI urges all individuals or organizations that have been infected with ransomware not to pay the ransom but, instead, to contact their local FBI field office and report the incidents to as soon as possible.

The FBI will get in touch with the victims after receiving their reports and will work with them to discover what is the best course of action going forward.

“Regardless of whether you or your organization have decided to pay the ransom, the FBI urges you to report ransomware incidents to law enforcement,” says the FBI PSA.

“Doing so provides investigators with the critical information they need to track ransomware attackers, hold them accountable under U.S. law, and prevent future attacks.”

It is important to provide IOCs, even anonymous ones, to the FBI as soon as possible in order to aid ongoing ransomware investigations. By not reporting them as soon as possible, they quickly diminish in value to investigators.

If you have cyber-insurance coverage, before deciding not to pay the ransom, speak directly with the carriers claims adjuster and get it in writing exactly what the carrier wants you to do and what will happen regarding any claim if you don’t do it. Verify it in your policy. If you have any difficulty getting it in writing in a timely fashion, memorialize your conversation with them and copy them on it in a formal and official manner. Keep detailed copies and logs concerning all communications concerning your claim, including with 3rd parties, such as the FBI. If you have any doubts on how to handle any aspect, consider obtaining legal advice from an attorney experienced in cyber-insurance claims.

Also, before attaching any backup device to the infected computer, you might want to make a back up of the contents of that device. Malware is becoming evermore sophisticated and could infect your backup device before you get a chance to restore your computer. Also be sure that your computer is not connected to the internet when attempting to restore. Isolate the infected computer from any network.

Meet Candiru — The Mysterious [Israeli] Mercenaries Hacking Apple And Microsoft PCs For Profit

Israel is home to scores of hacker-for-hire businesses, but one of the most clandestine has been Candiru. With no website and few records available, it’s operated largely under the radar.

But now a researcher is claiming the elite Tel Aviv-based firm sold cyber weapons to the government of Uzbekistan, while industry sources tell Forbes the company is hacking both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macs for various nation states.

Is Candiru legal in Israel? If not, what is the government there doing about it?

A PDF files could be able to hack your whole PC

All of the different variations of PDFex require than an attack be able to modify user’s encrypted PDF files. However, to do this they would have to intercept a victim’s network traffic or have physical access to their devices or storage.

‘Lost Files’ Data Wiper Poses as a Windows Security Scanner

A Windows Security Scanner that states it encrypted your files is being distributed by spam, but whether by bug or design, it instead corrupts binary data in a victim’s files.

Glyphosate can trigger aggressive breast cancer when combined with another risk factor

Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London, one of the peer reviewers of the study, commented, “These observations highlight for the first time a possible biomarker of glyphosate activity at the level of gene expression that could be linked with breast cancer formation. It would be interesting to investigate correlations between people’s history of exposure to glyphosate herbicide, increased levels of TET3 activity, and breast cancer incidence.”

The mechanism whereby glyphosate induced alterations in the profile of DNA methylation tags by increasing the levels of TET3 protein may help explain the finding of the team led by Prof G-E Séralini, that a very low dose of Roundup herbicide fed to rats over a 2-year period led to a highly statistically significant increase in mammary tumour incidence.
Aggressive form of cancer

Another concerning aspect of the new study was pointed out by one of the authors, Sophie Lelièvre, a professor of cancer pharmacology at Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She said, “What was particularly alarming about the tumour growth was that it wasn’t the usual type of breast cancer we see in older women. It was the more aggressive form found in younger women, also known as luminal B cancer.”

Whitney Webb is careful to point out that it’s possible Ari Ben-Menashe is not telling the truth. However, she explains that concerning people in intelligence who’ve sought to discredit Ari, those others, not Ari, have been shown to be lying about him and what he has had to say. It’s a perfectly valid point.

Former Israeli Intel Official Claims Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell Worked for Israel

A recent interview given by a former high-ranking official in Israeli military intelligence has claimed that Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose of entrapping powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad.

Since the apparent death by suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in a Manhattan prison, much has come to light about his depraved activities and methods used to sexually abuse underage girls and entrap the rich and powerful for the purposes of blackmail. Epstein’s ties to intelligence, described in-depth in a recent MintPress investigative series, have continued to receive minimal mainstream media coverage, which has essentially moved on from the Epstein scandal despite the fact that his many co-conspirators remain on the loose.

For those who have examined Epstein’s ties to intelligence, there are clear links to both U.S. intelligence and Israeli intelligence, leaving it somewhat open to debate as to which country’s intelligence apparatus was closest to Epstein and most involved in his blackmail/sex-trafficking activities. A recent interview given by a former high-ranking official in Israeli military intelligence has claimed that Epstein’s sexual blackmail enterprise was an Israel intelligence operation run for the purpose of entrapping powerful individuals and politicians in the United States and abroad.

I’ve moved Ukrainegate off the “front page.” I’d been leading with it for days.

Ignore the hype — this is not an impeachment inquiry

I can understand why Andrew C. McCarthy has written what he has, but I think he’s missing that the Democrats he’s referring to are really planning to get the House to vote to impeach. They may be shot down (figuratively). If not, they’ll run on what they’re doing right now whether it’s as bad as Andrew says or not.

Ukrainegate is still unfolding.

Reportedly, the Washington Post and New York Times were both wrong when they claimed Shokin’s investigation of Burisma was dormant.

When Ukraine’s Prosecutor Came After His Son’s Sponsor Joe Biden Sprang Into Action

The Washington Post wrote:

Giuliani’s primary allegation — that Joe Biden pushed for the firing of Ukraine’s top prosecutor to quash a probe into the former minister and Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky — is not substantiated and has been widely disputed by former U.S. officials and Ukrainian anti-corruption activists.

Even as he overhauled Burisma, Zlochevsky remained in the crosshairs of authorities in Ukraine. By 2015, prosecutors had opened two probes into the former ecology minister — one into claims of unlawful enrichment and the other into alleged abuse of power, forgery and embezzlement, according to documents from the prosecutor general’s office reviewed by the Wall Street Journal at the time. Zlochevsky denied wrongdoing in those cases.

Shokin — who has provided information about Biden to Giuliani — told The Post earlier this year that he believes he was ousted in March 2016 because he was investigating Burisma. If he had been allowed to remain in the job, he would have questioned Hunter Biden’s qualifications to be a board member, he said, noting that “this person had no work experience in Ukraine or in the energy sector.”

But at the time, the Zlochevsky case was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.

[Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center,] recalled how she and other anti-corruption activists in Ukraine criticized Shokin heavily for not pursuing the investigation and hoped his dismissal would re-energize the case.

The New York Times makes a slightly different claim:

Mr. Zlochevsky’s allies were relieved by the dismissal of Mr. Shokin, the prosecutor whose ouster Mr. Biden had sought, according to people familiar with the situation.

Mr. Shokin was not aggressively pursuing investigations into Mr. Zlochevsky or Burisma. But the oligarch’s allies say Mr. Shokin was using the threat of prosecution to try to solicit bribes from Mr. Zlochevsky and his team, and that left the oligarch’s team leery of dealing with the prosecutor.

The above accounts are incorrect. Shokin did go after Zlochevsky. He opened two cases against him in 2015. After he did that Biden and his crew started to lobby for his firing. Shokin was aggressively pursuing the case. He did so just before Biden’s campaign against him went into a frenzy.

On February 4 2016 Interfax-Ukraine reported:

The movable and immovable property of former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine Mykola Zlochevsky in Ukraine has been seized, according to the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine (PGO).

“The PGO filed a petition to court to arrest the property of the ex-Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, the Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Mykola Zlochevsky, from which arrest was withdrawn, and other property he actually uses, namely housing estate with a total area of 922 square meters, a land plot of 0.24 hectares, a garden house with a total area of 299.8 square meters, a garden house in the territory of Vyshgorod district, a garden house of 2,312 square meters, a land plot of 0.0394 hectares, a Rolls-Royce Phantom car, a Knott 924-5014 trainer,” reads the report.

The PGO clarifies that the court satisfied the petition on February 2, 2016.

Zlochevsky is suspected of committing a criminal offense under Part 3 of Article 368-2 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illicit enrichment).

On February 2 Shokin confiscated four large houses Zlochevsky owned plus a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a “Knott 924-5014 trainer”. (Anyone know what that is?) Ten days later Biden goes into overdrive to get him fired. Within one week he personally calls Poroshenko three times with only one major aim: to get Shokin fired.

The Washington Post falsely claimed that the Zlochevsky case was “dormant”. The executive director of the U.S. and EU financed Anti-Corruption Action Center falsely claimed that the prosecutor was “not pursuing the investigation”. The NYT repeated that false claim and added an obvious false claim from unnamed Zlochevsky “allies”. Why did the media claim Shokin did nothing against Zlochevsky when the record shows the opposite?

If the above is correct, and I have no reason to believe it isn’t at this point, I think we all know the answer.

Here you go.

There is no evidence that an investigation was underway at the time ….


Where is John Bresnahan of Politico getting his information, or should I say not getting it.

This doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Trump approval climbs to highest level of 2019 amid impeachment inquiry

Ukraine reviews cases on owner of firm that hired Biden son

Ryaboshapka told reporters that his office was “auditing” relevant cases that were closed, dismissed or put on hold by his predecessors.

Several of the cases under audit are related to Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of the gas company Burisma that hired Hunter Biden in 2014, the same time his father was leading the Obama administration’s diplomatic dealings with Ukraine.

“We are now reviewing all the cases that were closed or split into several parts or were investigated before, in order to be able to rule to reverse those cases where illegal procedural steps were taken,” Ryaboshapka said.

There’s nothing wrong with that. They may find nothing. If so, President Trump will just have to accept it. Biden’s part of Russiagate anyway.

He was the VP when it all got rolling due to John Brennan, the man who helped to lie us into invading Iraq, among many other of his wrongdoings as a dyed-in-the-wool neocon, the group with members who brag about lying to the world and the American People the way Pompeo was caught on video doing and hasn’t, and can’t, deny. He knows if he were to try, he’d fail just the way his fellow neocon, James Clapper, did when Clapper tried later to spin his admission that he lied about domestic dragnet-spying on all Americans, something Barack Obama didn’t even fire him for doing because Obama was totally on board with lying about it too.

Then people wonder why so many Americans believe voting is just a waste of time while so many other Americans just tolerate plutocracy.

Justice Department to Question Brennan in ‘Spygate’ Inquiry

Brennan told Congress in May 2017 that the dossier was “not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community’s assessment” on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

I covered the “assessment” in yesterday’s post. Just open that post and search on the term Assessment.

Let me remind readers that the assessment was based on extremely ridiculous forensics done by the outfit CrowdStrike. I’ve read hundreds of detailed reports on hacking, and the CrowdStrike so-called analysis used by Brennan is the worst I’ve ever seen. Anyone and his brother could have faked everything CrowdStrike claimed pointed to the Russian government.

Here’s one of the best of the analyses I’ve read specifically concerning the “evidence” CrowdStrike used (less the more ridiculous parts):

US Govt Data Shows Russia [someone] Used Outdated Ukrainian PHP Malware

Overall Conclusion

The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.

You can find a public repository containing the data used in this report on github.

Please note the article clearly indicates that anyone could have been behind the hacking.

CrowdStrike based its conclusions on that the hackers (allegedly) left behind deliberate indicators intended to implicate Russia or Russians. Of course, any hacker could have left such indicators, including the CIA, especially if its head were out to get Russia, as neocon and proven liar John Brennan has always been. Harsh but true.

Why Greta was right to cry and why those who put her down for it lack heart.

UK wildlife species dying out and many will soon vanish if urgent action not taken, study says

Gareth Morgan, head of farming policy at the Soil Association, said transitioning to more sustainable farming practices is possible but farmers need to be paid properly for nature-friendly agricultural practices.

He said: “We must change the way we farm and the food we eat, not just engineer the recovery of a few species.

“Our diets need to be aligned with what is healthy and what the planet can sustain. Farming must be based on conserving soils and storing carbon whilst producing nutritious food.”

Denmark calls for EU ban on sale of all diesel and petrol cars by 2040

Denmark made headlines in October 2018 when its government announced that it would ban the sale of all fossil fuel-powered cars by 2030 but it subsequently scrapped the idea because this would have breached EU rules.

Some rules are made to be broken.

Photos of starving grizzly bear family stirs concern for climate crisis

Labor force nonparticipation: Trends, causes, and policy solutions

Over the last two decades the U.S. labor force participation rate has fallen. While the relatively strong job market since 2014 has led to rising participation for some groups, the overall participation rate remains well below its peak even after adjusting for aging.

Automatic stabilizers — defined as fiscal policies that automatically inject money into the economy during a downturn and remove it during a boom—can help minimize the damage caused by recessions.

No US cities make top 10 of global smart city ranking

There is zero good reason that all ten of the top cities aren’t in the US. The reason they aren’t is a lack of vision and political will. It is not due to insufficient resources or money. Money is definitely not an obstacle. We can create all the money we want to for free (no debt) to put to productive uses. Corporate greed is the obstacle. They want everything private, nothing public.

The Insider: Lofted Row House Co-op in Brooklyn Heights Gains an Overall Refresh

I’m going with the city on this one. If the Trump administration cared about the environment at this level, if the city were really polluting as alleged, the Trump administration would go after all environmental issues with a vengeance, which certainly isn’t remotely happening but rather just the opposite. Trump doesn’t have an environmentalist bone in his body. He’s the most anti-environmentalist President we’ve ever had, including Ronald Reagan, who was really, really bad.

Trump administration slaps SF with violation over sewers

The Fed can’t do it all.

Bond Markets’ Tea Leaves Send Sobering Signal: Trouble Is Ahead

… all sides are pleading with governments to start spending more.

Fiscal is THE answer. Where’s Trump? He doesn’t want to raise taxes on the rich. He’s afraid of higher deficits because of the deficit hawks he’s depending upon to get reelected. He’s been too ignorant to call for issuing dollars without borrowing.

The only thing massive tax cuts for the rich and corporations have done is make the rich richer (obscenely) and the poor poorer (miserably).

Record debt and inequality gap? It’s almost like 40 years of Republican tax cuts failed.

What do you mean “almost”?

Anyway, taxing the rich is not the answer. Free money, free of issuing bonds, is!

The URL shows the original title, which is actually more apt: how-private-equity-works-and-took-over-everything

Everything Is Private Equity Now


Trump’s Executive Order is Backdoor Privatization of Medicare

Medicare Advantage is a hustle designed to allow for-profit corporations to suck up public dollars. For years, Republicans have shoveled money into Medicare Advantage plans and allowed them to offer benefits that traditional Medicare is forbidden from covering. This is a ploy to push seniors into Medicare Advantage plans instead of traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage is stealth privatization intended to undermine traditional Medicare, which is an effective, popular government program and therefore loathed by Republican ideologues.

Trump wants to destroy Medicare. Social Security will be next if he gets away with it. He won’t. If he tries to push this in his campaign, he’ll be shooting himself in the foot. Sanders will wipe the floor with him on it. It would be child’s play. Talk about leaving yourself wide open for the knockout punch.

Seniors vote in the highest numbers. They all enroll in Medicare because it’s better than commercial-insurance coverage for the money by far. Everyone in the know realizes it. Trump is willing to further sacrifice the American People for the sake of the uber-rich CEO’s and shareholders of commercial medical insurance companies, and I say that as an insurance broker.

I care more about the People’s health than I do about private insurance.

By the way, I’m on Medicare and don’t, and wouldn’t, use Medicare Advantage.

Trump’s bid to destroy Medicare

In an executive order that begins with a deranged preamble slandering Medicare for All proposals, Trump orders the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare the ground for ending Medicare rate-setting:

(b) The Secretary, in consultation with the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, shall submit to the President, through the Assistants to the President for Domestic and Economic Policy, a report within 180 days from the date of this order that identifies approaches to modify Medicare FFS payments to more closely reflect the prices paid for services in MA and the commercial insurance market, to encourage more robust price competition, and otherwise to inject market pricing into Medicare FFS reimbursement.

It’s quintessentially Trumpian to inject “competition” into a market by decreeing that the lower payers shall pay rates comparable to those paid by the highest payers. That’s what Trump is ordering up.

Trump rails against the Democrats running for office by branding them all “socialists.” They aren’t. All but Sanders openly support capitalism in a mixed economy. Even Sanders appears to.

Interesting & Important News & Analysis, October 1, 2019

So, here we go with another round concerning Ukrainegate.

I’ve been wondering about the “CIA” so-called whistleblower and his or her partisanship while also recalling Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, who were partisan FBI agents hellbent on stopping Trump from being elected. Have you thought about that too?


Why is most of the media circling the wagons to protect Hunter Biden? The focus isn’t Hunter but Joe.

… the Ukraine affair isn’t unique: As Peter Schweitzer reported in The Post, Hunter’s private equity fund Rosemont Capital (co-founded with John Kerry stepson Chris Heinz) similarly exploited family connections — in name, at the very least — to grow to $2.4 billion under management. Notably, one breakthrough was an early meeting with China’s largest, most powerful government-funded leaders — the same day Joe Biden met with China’s president.

A second meeting with the same Beijing bigs came just two weeks after the then-veep opened the US-China Strategic Dialogue with top Chinese officials. And Hunter would close a billion-dollar Rosemont deal with the government-run Bank of China in 2013 while accompanying his dad on a top-level trip to Beijing.

“It’s a question worth asking.” I agree. Double-standards are a major problem.

Let’s get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections

As I have reported, the pressure began at least as early as January 2016, when the Obama White House unexpectedly invited Ukraine’s top prosecutors to Washington to discuss fighting corruption in the country.

The meeting, promised as training, turned out to be more of a pretext for the Obama administration to pressure Ukraine’s prosecutors to drop an investigation into the Burisma Holdings gas company that employed Hunter Biden and to look for new evidence in a then-dormant criminal case against eventual Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a GOP lobbyist.

Politics. Pressure. Opposition research. All were part of the Democrats’ playbook on Ukraine long before Trump ever called Zelensky this summer. And as Sen. Murphy’s foray earlier this month shows, it hasn’t stopped.

The evidence is so expansive as to strain the credulity of the Democrats’ current outrage at Trump’s behavior with Ukraine.

Which raises a question: Could it be the Ukraine tale currently being weaved by Democrats and their allies in the media is nothing more than a smoke screen designed to distract us from the forthcoming Justice Department inspector general report into abuses during the Democratic-inspired Russia collusion probe?

It’s a question worth asking.

How soon will Biden drop out?

Where are the Democrats up in arms over this real whistleblower?

Government Moves To Block Alleged Drone Whistleblower’s Defense In Espionage Act Case

“For decades, the Executive Branch was faithful to the [Espionage] Act’s original intent, charging only spies and saboteurs even though the Act’s nearly limitless language permits so much more,” the motion states. “But now that the Act is used regularly against those who leak for no purpose other than informing their fellow citizens about their own government, its chilling effect is fatal to its continued viability.”

There were only three prosecutions under the Espionage Act for the first 75 years that were “premised” on “leaks.” However, since 2009, there have been 18 prosecutions of media sources, according to Hale’s attorneys.

President Barack Obama’s administration set the record for more leak prosecutions under the Espionage Act than all previous U.S. presidents combined, and the Obama Justice Department’s novel interpretations of the Espionage Act set the stage for President Donald Trump to launch a prosecution against Hale, as well as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is the first journalist to be charged with violating this particular law.

So, I’m getting the picture that Shokin has been accused by Biden supporters of being corrupt and that they lean on statements by the EU and IMF that Ukraine was having corruption problems and that Shokin was, or may have been, a part of that problem. However, more pieces of the puzzle suggest that Shokin was possibly not corrupt but rather being aggressive in his pursuit of corruption at Burisma and that the US government knew it. We need to find out the real facts about that. Right now, all we have are vague statements from the anti-Trump side and some details, but not enough, from the other side.

Solomon: These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story

… two questions remain.

One is whether it was ethically improper or even illegal for Biden to intervene to fire the prosecutor handling Burisma’s case, given his son’s interests. That is one that requires more investigation and the expertise of lawyers.

The second is whether Biden has given the American people an honest accounting of what happened. The new documents I obtained raise serious doubts about his story’s credibility. And that’s an issue that needs to be resolved by voters.

The appearance of a conflict of interest is huge. As for being resolved by voters, possibly; but, the US government could still act against Biden if evidence is shown that he clearly was acting against Shokin for the sake of Hunter Biden and not in the best interest of the American people.

Will Biden be questioned about it in the next Democratic debate, and how will the other candidates handle it?

I don’t think he’ll be the nominee and don’t think he should be for a number of reasons.

Interesting timing:

Intel Community Secretly Gutted Requirement Of First-Hand Whistleblower Knowledge

It’s also interesting just how much incorrect info the “whistleblower” gave and/or how much he or she was given.

Regardless, we know the call was made and what was covered.

I have to say that had I been a CIA agent in that position, I would have wanted to know whether Joe Biden acted corruptly for his son’s sake. I always wanted to know and certainly thought Joe Biden should not have leaned on Ukraine concerning Shokin and Burisma. I thought it was wrong that Hunter Biden got the position and the deal in China. Don’t you? Where was Obama during all of this? He was facilitating it, even though we’re also told he didn’t like it and neither did the Joe Biden team.

My point is, how could Ukraine further investigating it be bad for Joe Biden if there’s nothing to find? Trump wasn’t blasting it around. He simply asked on the phone. Concerning Russiagate, the anti-Trump forces never stopped blasting Russiagate around. Why would a CIA agent react so prematurely? It suspicious but not proof.

The Rabbit Hole:

Here is the dirt Trump wanted from Zelensky about the Bidens and why Zelensky doesn’t want to give it to him — hidden by rampant falsehoods in the press

Hunter Biden: The Most Comprehensive Timeline

Shokin tells the Post via email:

All I can say is that the appointment of Hunter Biden as a member of the Board of Directors of the energy company is rather questionable from the point of view of effectiveness. After all, this person had no work experience either in Ukraine or in the energy sector. . . . The activities of Burisma, the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden, and the [prosecutor general’s office] investigators on his tail, are the only, I emphasize, the only motives for organizing my resignation.

Other anti-corruption activists in Ukraine strongly disagree with Shokin’s assessment of why he was dismissed.

Details please.

I remember reading when the Saudis first started hitting the Houthis that the Saudis were making a huge mistake because the Houthis have always been better fighters than the Saudis and would likely eventually end up invading Saudi Arabia and winning the war.

Three Saudi Brigades Annihilated in Devastating Houthi Offensive in Saudi Arabia

I think the title is misleading. The brain uses both.

To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight

With tasks similar to those they’d used in 2015, the team probed the functional effects of various brain regions on one another, as well as the neuronal connections between them. The full circuit, they found, goes from the prefrontal cortex to a much deeper structure called the basal ganglia (often associated with motor control and a host of other functions), then to the TRN and the thalamus, before finally going back up to higher cortical regions. So, for instance, as visual information passes from the eye to the visual thalamus, it can get intercepted almost immediately if it’s not relevant to the given task. The basal ganglia can step in and activate the visual TRN to screen out the extraneous stimuli, in keeping with the prefrontal cortex’s directive.

With the work being done in Halassa’s lab, the basal ganglia’s role has now been extended to include sensory control too. This highlights the fact that “attention is really about sequencing from this to that in the correct order and making sure you don’t get distracted by things you shouldn’t be distracted by,” Maunsell said. “The notion that motor structures are involved in this … is appropriate, in a way — that they should be right at the heart of the process of deciding what you will attend to next, what you will focus your sensory resources on next.”

China’s Giant $400 Billion Iran Investment Complicates U.S. Options

Is China really going to invest that much money any time soon?

PG&E Attacks Rival Plan for Paying Fire Victims Before Insurers

Under the so-called absolute priority rule of the bankruptcy code, which both sides of the debate have cited, fire victims and other unsecured creditors must be paid in full before shareholders can recover anything.

Gwinnett police looking for man who took thousands from two people in roof scam

Courts routinely hold that a public adjuster’s fraud is the policyholder’s fraud

… under agency law, an agent’s actions are considered to be the principal’s actions. Thus, if the public adjuster or lawyer is committing fraud, as a matter of law so is the policyholder client.

Most public adjusters are honest. Yet a persistently large number fraudulently inflates repair claims to increase their own fees, which are a percentage of the insurance payout. This problem is magnified when adjusters try to exploit anxious policyholders after major storms sweep through regions.

You can request insurance and surety coverage info from the public adjuster before contracting with that adjuster. Require a certificate of insurance directly from the insurance company or authorized broker. Verify any surety bond’s authenticity too. Your agreement with the adjuster can contain “hold harmless” language. You could even require a personal guarantee in the contract. Adjusters aren’t necessarily used to such requirements, so you might have difficulty finding one who’ll agree. Also verify the adjuster’s license status with the state’s department of insurance. The name of the department or agency will vary by state.

Residents in Pratt receiving calls from scam roofing companies

Former California Adjuster Hit With 180-day Sentence for Stealing $130K

PG&E Cuts Power to 48K California Customers to Avert Wildfire Risk

Are backup generators and batteries in demand in California because of this new trend?

250 Residents Diplaced by Florida Rooftop Pool Leak

Investments to address climate change are good for business

“We have underestimated the sensitivity of natural and human systems to climate change, and the speed at which these changes are happening,” says Hoegh-Guldberg.

“We have underappreciated the synergistic nature of climate threats – with the outcomes tending to be worse than the sum of the parts. This is resulting in rapid and comprehensive climate impacts, with growing damage to people, ecosystems, and livelihoods.”

Pesticides in the Dock: Ecological Apocalypse but Business as Usual

Robert F Kennedy, co-counsel to Baum Hedlund Law, which is representing nearly 800 people in the US who allege Roundup exposure caused their non-Hodgkin lymphoma, says that it was no surprise that Monsanto kept secrets from Bayer.

He notes that Dewayne Johnson’s jury heard evidence that for four decades Monsanto maneuvered to conceal Roundup’s carcinogenicity by capturing regulatory agencies, corrupting public officials, bribing scientists and engaging in scientific fraud to delay its day of reckoning. The jury found that these activities constituted “malice, fraud and oppression” warranting $250 million in punitive damages.

Kennedy says:

Perhaps more ominously for Bayer, Monsanto also faces cascading scientific evidence linking glyphosate to a constellation of other injuries that have become prevalent since its introduction, including obesity, depression, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, kidney disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, brain, breast and prostate cancer, miscarriage, birth defects and declining sperm counts. Strong science suggests glyphosate is the culprit in the exploding epidemics of celiac disease, colitis, gluten sensitivities, diabetes and non-alcoholic liver cancer which, for the first time, is attacking children as young as 10.

Researchers peg glyphosate as a potent endocrine disruptor, which interferes with sexual development in children. The chemical compound is certainly a chelator that removes important minerals from the body, including iron, magnesium, zinc, selenium and molybdenum. Roundup disrupts the microbiome destroying beneficial bacteria in the human gut and triggering brain inflammation and other ill effects.

USDA Inaction Leaves Organic Dairy Farmers in a Very Vulnerable Position, Congress is Forced to Take Action

Under the Origin of Livestock rule, the predominantly held interpretation is that a whole dairy herd can be converted to organic over a 12-month period — once. Not multiple times.

However, some certifiers are allowing dairy operations to use various LLCs and separate ownership structures to circumvent the rules, thereby transitioning dairy animals continuously into organic over time, using a 12-month conversion period for each animal transitioned.

Additionally, animals that are simply in the transition phase are being sold to other farms as organic bovine dairy animals.

Linking Arms: Farmers, Consumers and Climate Activists Launch National Coalition for a Green New Deal

The “cooperation of society” must include not only consumer demand, but also policy support. Yet it’s tough to get policy support for organic and regenerative farmers and ranchers—when Big Ag spends more on lobbying for policies to prop up its degenerative GMO monoculture and factory farm practices than do lobbyists for the defense sector, as reported by Truthout.

Coalition of farmers and ranchers endorses Green New Deal

The Marxists really hate Sisi, but plenty of others hate him too.

Egypt: construction magnate’s revelations lead to nationwide protests – “Sisi must go!”

Microsoft releases emergency IE patches inside ‘optional, non-security’ cumulative updates

Luxembourg researchers reveal privacy flaw in e-passports

New WhiteShadow Downloader Uses MSSQL Servers for Malware Delivery

WhiteShadow is delivered via malspam emails containing malicious URLs or Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel attachments that bundle malicious the downloader’s Visual Basic macros which will install the malware payloads after execution.

Microsoft Confirms It’s Fighting Windows Zombie Attack

… Nodersok uses legitimate binaries in an attempt to be invisible by hiding in plain sight on the machine being targeted. These living-off-the-land binaries, known as LOLBins, such as powershell.exe for example, legitimize threat activity as it is being executed by Windows processes.

Deep Fake Videos on the Rise as Technology Improves

But technology to combat these doctored videos is also growing in sophistication.

It could open up a can of liability worms.

I stopped years ago.

Is It Safe To Unsubscribe From Spam Emails? Be Careful What You Click

US Senate Passes Bill in Response to Rampant Ransomware, CyberAttacks

Good idea:

Bernie Sanders calls for higher taxes on companies with wide pay gaps

Greta Effect Shakes Up Austrian Politics in Signal for Europe

“The thematic development really helped the Greens, I’m thinking here of Greta Thunberg and the climate protests,” said the Social Democrat’s Managing Director Thomas Drozda in an ORF television interview conceding defeat. He resigned Monday after seeing more than 190,000 Social Democrats migrate to the Green Party.

“Climate protection has arrived in the middle of society,” Green politician Birgit Hebein said in an interview on ORF, thank the protest movement started by Swedish activist Thunberg a year ago. “It is key that climate change is tackled on all levels.”

They should have been included.

Syrian Kurds criticize UN envoy over constitution committee

How to Be a Landlord Reference for a Tenant