Hackers Came — The French Were Ready For Them

Everyone saw the hackers coming…The National Security Agency in Washington picked up the signs. So did Emmanuel Macron’s bare-bones technology team. And mindful of what happened in the American presidential campaign, the team created dozens of false email accounts, complete with phony documents, to confuse the attackers.

❝ The Russians, for their part, were rushed and a bit sloppy, leaving a trail of evidence that was not enough to prove for certain they were working for the government of President Vladimir V. Putin but which strongly suggested they were part of his broader “information warfare” campaign…

But that outcome was hardly assured on Friday night, when what was described as a “massive” hacking attack suddenly put Mr. Macron’s electoral chances in jeopardy. To French and American officials, however, it was hardly a surprise.

❝ …The staff at Mr. Macron’s makeshift headquarters in the 15th Arrondissement at the edge of Paris didn’t need the N.S.A. to tell them they were being targeted: In December, after the former investment banker and finance minister had emerged as easily the most anti-Russian, pro-NATO and pro-European Union candidate in the presidential race, they began receiving phishing emails.

Even before then, the Macron campaign had begun looking for ways to make life a little harder for the Russians, showing a level of skill and ingenuity that was missing in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and at the Democratic National Committee, which had minimal security protections and for months ignored F.B.I. warnings that its computer system had been penetrated.

❝ “We went on a counteroffensive,” digital director, Mounir Mahjoubi said. “We couldn’t guarantee 100 percent protection” from the attacks, “so we asked: what can we do?” Mr. Mahjoubi opted for a classic “cyber-blurring” strategy, well known to banks and corporations, creating false email accounts and filled them with phony documents the way a bank teller keeps fake bills in the cash drawer in case of a robbery…

Mr. Mahjoubi refused to reveal the nature of the false documents that were created, or to say whether, in the Friday document dump that was the result of the hacking campaign, there were false documents created by the Macron campaign.

But he did note that in the mishmash that constituted the Friday dump, there were some authentic documents, some phony documents of the hackers’ own manufacture, some stolen documents from various companies, and some false emails created by the campaign.

❝ “It’s clear they were rushed,” Mr. Hultquist said. “If this was APT28,” he said, using the name for a Russian group believed to be linked to the GRU, a military intelligence agency, “they have been caught in the act, and it has backfired for them.”

Russian hackers were dealing with not only a better educated populace; but, a more sophisticated audience than American voters. LePen and her populist campaign had to walk away from the most backwards aspects of campaigns her father would have run twenty or thirty years ago. She could not substitute anti-Semitism for Trump’s anti-Mexican slurs – as her father would have.

Trump’s dalliance in misogynist assaults might have cynical appeal to fools in France – as they do in the United States. But, Trump’s contempt for physically-handicapped wouldn’t play – for example – in a nation where until recently public transport still reserved front seats for victims of war.

The French shrugged off Big Lies because they knew from experience what the population in general was gifted by populist liars – and their supporters, domestic or foreign.

The 10 movies fools will boycott in 2017 to prop up their self-image


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❝ If you read enough Twitter…you’ll find a narrative of persistent persecution against white men. And just like any good conspiracy theory, the systematic disenfranchisement of white guys makes it to Hollywood. This month, a number of people — some with their own convoluted logic, some just straight-up racist — took umbrage with a fictional galaxy…We have tissues and violins at our desk if anyone wants to weep for the poor slighted souls who have seen themselves as the hero of virtually every single movie since the beginning of cinema…

Kong: Skull Island (March 10)

Reason to Boycott: After director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Twitter rant excoriating the white supremacist sitting next to him on a plane, it’s time to turn the tweets back against him…

Beauty and the Beast (March 17)

Reason to Boycott: A smart, independent young woman sets out on a quest to save her dad, transforming a vulnerable beast who desperately needs to be loved.

Ghost in the Shell (March 31)

Reason to Boycott: Re-casting a Japanese character as a basically nude Scarlett Johansson? Great. But hold up—you’re saying the fate of our world relies on a woman’s ability to use technology?

The Circle (April 28)

Reason to Boycott: …the man behind that message—Dave Eggers — is the literal WORST: a San Franciscan…radical vegan hybrid driver…who believes in helping hardworking undocumented students find money for college.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5)

Reason to Boycott: …this movie, explicitly cast to be “inclusive,” was written by a guy who thinks Trump is a “dumbshit.”

Alien: Covenant (May 19)

Reason to Boycott: …Alien: Covenant follows in the footsteps of Alien, a—gulp—explicitly feminist movie. Ripley, you’re out.

Wonder Woman (June 2)

Reason to Boycott: Diana Prince’s…fearless feminist…and the DC movie is a nightmare for anyone yearning for an age when “women were women.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)

Reason to Boycott: Peter Parker, prototypical white nerd who acquires superpowers…and a high school that’s as diverse as his Queens upbringing actually would be, featuring black, Guatemalan, and Filipino actors.

Star Wars: Episode VIII (December 15)

Reason to Boycott: Brave, resourceful Rey (Daisy Ridley) has already given young girls everywhere a way to see themselves as heroes within the Star Wars universe…intergalactic protagonists aren’t supposed to wear dresses.

Same as it ever was. Only we’re all lucky enough to have more than we used to. The reality is that Rogue One broke the record for a Thursday night preview at $74 million. The fools who stayed away get lonelier every day.

Maybe Trump will institute a government censorship office that will put the same lid on movies his Chump followers wear on their brains.

Santa Fe stands firm as a sanctuary city


Javier Gonzales

❝ Less than a week after Donald Trump won the election for president of the United States, the mayor of New Mexico’s capital city is not backing down from so-called “sanctuary” status.

This comes despite threats to cut federal money to such cities made by the president-elect during the campaign.

“The threat is intended to divide us against each other,” Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales wrote in a statement on Twitter Monday afternoon. “It is one of the first, but it won’t be the last we see out of this administration, which based on its own words intends to persecute and attack not only immigrants but women, Muslims, people of color, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and more.”

❝ Though there is no formal legal definition, the politically charged term “sanctuary city” typically refers to cities that limit cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on immigration policies.

Santa Fe, for example, bars the use of public resources to check for someone’s immigration status. That means city police are not supposed to check the immigration status of someone they arrest…

❝ Gonzales also vowed to fight in court should a Trump administration follow through with this promise.

“We don’t relish having to re-litigate issues which we hoped were long-settled, but we won’t hesitate to rise to the occasion when we must,” Gonzales said…

Mayors of other “sanctuary” cities like Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco made similar pledges to keep their status on Monday.

Racists continue to demand all citizens assist their bigotry. Xenophobes, sexists, the whole midden heap of ideological garbage that unites Trumpkins will be set upon Americans as the religious crusade against a modern free nation escalates.

Stand firm sisters and brothers.

Seriously?

Just got to viewing this song, this lovely set, this morning. Good friends have been suggesting it to me since it was released. Just got to it.

It’s the time of the year allowed by Congressional bureaucrats for geezers like me – and younger, even early, retirees like my wife – to sort out healthcare coverage. Since our system is still wholly in the hands of the greediest capitalists on American soil [outside of their cousins in Big Pharma], the Barons of Insurance, we have only a choice of how much we are screwed.

It takes a lot of time to sort.

But, this video is lovely. It says everything most educated/self-educated people feel – in a more polite fashion than I am capable of. I’m old enough that I just don’t care much anymore about being polite to folks who are only trying to choose between ignorance and stupidity.

Trumpkins want to repeal the 19th Amendment — end women’s right to vote

❝ A group of Donald Trump supporters has begun using the Twitter hashtag #repealthe19th after a map showed he would win the election if only men voted.

❝ The thought experiment from fivethirtyeight.com came after Trump’s 2005 comments about sexually assaulting women became public…Despite the candidate’s dramatic poll slip since, a revised electoral college showed he would beat Hillary Clinton 350 to 188 if the 19th Amendment had not been ratified in 1920.

The #repealthe19th tag was used last month, though the map brought out a new crop of people who want to make a Y chromosome mandatory at the ballot box.

❝ “Give out nice enough handbags and most broads would gladly trade their voting rights for one. #repealthe19th,” user Michael Maier posted Tuesday.

“I would gladly waive my right to vote to solidify the win! #TrumpPence2016 #NeverHillary,” Lilo313 said.

❝ After a Los Angeles Times article brought attention to the vile viral trend, the vast majority of tweets came from social media users disgusted by the sexist fantasy.

“First they wanted to take us back to the 1950s … now they want to take us back to the 1850s?!” pro-choice group NARAL posted.

Which is what reactionary politics is all about. Fools gullible enough to think progress is harmful to their poor, demented lives. Perish the thought they consider someone else’s life as important as their own egregious little meat swamp.