The Equifax Calamity – Possibly the Biggest Data Breach in History

Remember the report that, thanks to Equifax, we may all become victims of identity theft? The possibilities: credit card fraud, tax refund theft, ruined reputations and credit ratings replete with denied apartments, insurances, or jobs, and even worse: credit cards or bank accounts being set up in our names and the bill collectors coming for us over those false accounts, arrest warrants getting issued against us because of the crimes of others, arresting police shooting us in our beds… at least that’s what I can imagine coming at us. Here is an update interview:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Massachusetts First to Sue Equifax Over Massive Hack “)

It’s really sad to hear that the vulnerability is said to have been in an open-source software, since open-source is usually considered one of the best protections against hacking. But, of course, it won’t help when the quickly produced patches are not applied down the line, in this case by the staff of one of our three ruling credit bureaus.  Continue reading

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Video Weekend 9-09-2017 — Hurricanes, Climate Change, Selfish People, & Equifax’s Horrible Hack (9 Videos)

CBS reported it has been more than 100 years, in the U.S., since two category-4 hurricanes have made landfall in the same year. Tearing through the Caribbean, Irma was upgraded to category 5! And, meanwhile, Hurricane Jose is coming strong in its wake, a third big hurricane (or tropical storm for hair-splitters?) to form within some two weeks of time in our part of the planet. According to USA Today, Hurricane Jose joined Irma in reaching 150 mph winds on Friday, the first time on record the Atlantic has seen two storms that intense at same time. Meanwhile a 4th, weaker (105-mph) hurricane named Katia (it has been rare so far to have three roaring at the same time) is taking aim at Mexico’s east coast right now.

With all this happening, who here still insists on denying climate change or, in other words, reality? Years ago, I explained the severe weather events from global warming (including strengthened blizzards in wintry regions on Earth) comparing our planet to a pot of water being brought to a boil (the turbulent boiling water being our atmosphere in the analogy). I have been around long enough to have personally experienced our climate change. The cold winters of my youth are gone where I grew up, and record low harvests are hitting the farmers there from way to many rains in the growing season, rotting grains and fruits. Back in my earlier years, no-one ever imagined melting ice caps on the poles and polar bears swimming to Canadian beaches seeking refuge. Climate change is real, folks; and among this weekend’s videos is plenty of evidence.

Some notable facts before the videos start:

Communication with Cuba and other Caribbean islands has been lost. Barbuda, the first island to feel the force of Hurricane Irma was devastated. Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said 90% of buildings have been destroyed (the count may have risen to 95% by now), and 50% of the population of around 1,000 have been left homeless.

ABC’s West Palm Beach news announced that Irma’s 24-hour-long 185 mph winds are unprecedented in recorded history! According to ABC Action Weather, Irma would be classified as category 6 if 5 weren’t the highest number on our rating scale. Maybe climate change will soon force us to expand the scale? I heard of storm surges up to 20 feet in the Caribbean.

Another sad piece of related news: price gouging by some airlines asking people trying to get to safety thousands of dollars for inland flights. Likewise, I heard of $45 prices charged on water bottle packs.

For those wanting to stay up to date beyond the things the sensationalist mass media report, travel.state.gov gives factual updates on Hurricanes Irma and Jose.

And now to the videos:

 

Hurricane Irma pushes aside recent Hurricane Harvey in severity and brings up memories of Hurricane Katrina:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Hurricane Irma Is Stronger Than Katrina Was At Its Peak “)

 

Overall, Katrina killed 1,245–1,836 people, making it the deadliest United States hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. It’s really sad that some right-wingers among our political crooks have been trying to rewrite history by spreading rumors that it was Obama, not Bush II and his war-profiteering and torture-promoting puppeteer Dick Cheney, who stood by idly as the catastrophe unfolded. Katrina also opened our eyes to how much our infrastructure, built during the New Deal, has been left to rot since our robber billionaires and our politicians and media pundits joined forces to focus exclusively on squeezing wealth from the middle and bottom to the top of the dungheap society we have become.

 

A bit more about our current storms:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Strongest Hurricane EVER RECORDED In Atlantic Heading Toward Puerto Rico And Florida”)

 

What a storm surge is and how it comes to be:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “What exactly is storm surge? “)

 

… and some more on our climate change catastrophes:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It “)

Montana is an example for the disastrous result of curring government spending in areas that protect and serve the people and our lands (while always maintaining and boosting the graft and pork spending such as military expenditures and corporate subsidies in connection with which we never hear a peep about budget deficits).

 

I have noticeably reduced the degree to which I watch The Young Turks (other than their associate Jimmy Dore, that is) ever since Cenk Uygur and others switched to supporting HRC in the 2016 presidential election — and after some underhanded smear attacks against citizen journalists — but I want to share this clip, largely because it rings true with me what these guys are saying about the reality perception and compassion of traditional “conservatives” (or GOP-voters) based on my own personal experience with many of them:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “The Trick To Being A Paid Liar: Zero Empathy “)

 

A little explanation of the greenhouse effect behind climate change:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Simple Explanation of Climate Change “)

 

A little bit more explanation of climate change:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Climate change explained in under 2 minutes “)

 

If you want to listen to a pointy-headed scientist for nearly 20 minutes, here you can (For me it got really interesting 12 minutes in):

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Climate Change Explained and Proof it’s Man Made (Dr. Michael E. Mann 1 of 2) “)

And, I guess, I just learned that pointy hats are designed to hide balding. 😉

As a final word on the issue in this post, maybe I should remind everybody that I now offer an online science course which makes science super easy and fun and removes all excuses for science illiteracy and denial such as climate change denial even as hurricane after hurricane is hitting us in the face. And, besides, best of luck to everyone in the path of these storms!

 

And now to something completely different (a favorite Monty Python quote of mine):

Rummaging through useful news, info, and commentary clips I came across yet another TYT segment I’d like to share, because this is huge news, IMHOP, for the majority of Americans. You know, Equifax isn’t a company that you do business with. They get your data without your consent. With 143 million folks affected, most adult Americans may now soon be targeted with identity theft and the many horrible after-effects, as soon as the crooks can catch up with their enormous windfall. Expect to never qualify for a loan again, be blacklisted from employment and rental apartments, possibly for the rest of your life, and get arrested out of the blue for crimes you didn’t commit and know nothing about. I have long felt that our credit bureaus and collection agencies were a scourge on our country, and now they are about to prove it to everybody:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “UNPRECEDENTED Hack Leaks Financial Info Of 143 MILLION People “)

Hmm… on the other hand, maybe the wave of identity theft we may now experience may create a strong enough backlash to also give us a tool to fight the ongoing criminalization of political dissidents…? I wonder.

 

Related articles:

  1. Hurricanes, Climate Change Denial, and a little Remedy
  2. The Chain-Smoking Climate Change (Commentary with Video)
  3. Nine Things You Absolutely Have to Know about Global Warming (Medium)

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Trump’s Arpaio Pardon: Far More than Meets the Eye (the things the MSM didn’t tell you)

Of course you have heard the profuse allegations of Trump’s white supremacy links in connection with his pardon of Joe Arpaio, the Texas sheriff found guilty, among other things, of racial profiling — a shocker that came right after Trump defended the murderer of Charlottesville by blaming both sides: the violent supremacists and the peaceful protesters. We sure heard a lot of pumped-up outrage about it. But, honestly, both Trump’s flirting with white supremacists and the attempt of his political opponents to turn it to their political advantage, are nothing new. I’d never bother to write a whole article about them. The deeper meanings and connections I am going to share with you today, however, might be new to you and of much greater significance than the pardoning of one bad guy. There is indeed a lot more here than meets the eye. So, keep reading…   Continue reading

Been Wondering About Syria? Assad stands between it and ISIS/Al-Qaeda

… and the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist extremist terrorists all.

So much for the myth propagated by our corporate media that the so-called rebels are democracy loving good guys and Assad the awful dictatorial bad guy. As usual, our government fights to destroy all chance of democracy and justice in foreign lands (for corporate profits on cheap oil imports and lucrative arms sales) and pretends to do the opposite. Read what Syrians have to say about it.

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Stock Market Up, Economy Down

So, why is our stock market at an all-time high but our real economy — the one that’s about earning our living expenses — is still down? In a speech held at the Commonwealth Club, a speech which makes for a fitting follow-up to last Friday’s article and videos, Robert Reich explained it beautifully: income inequality makes us poor and the corporations rich. The corporations then buy back their stocks thus driving up stock prices which makes them, and the stock market, look good. The Fed meanwhile tries to boost the economy by keeping interests low, but our government’s austerity policies make the economy like a wet noodle the Fed is trying to push on. When government cuts spending and corporations just borrow money to artificially drive up their stocks, we get no economic revival. Well explained, indeed! In essence, our booming stock market is fake. It’s just another market bubble.  Continue reading

Yes Men DNC Stunt and Tips for a Party Takeover

Here is an interesting conversation about the Yes Men’s funny DNC stunt and tips for a party takeover:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Interview With The Yes Men Following Their DNC Prank”)

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Video Weekend 8-19-2017 (5 (+2) Videos on many topics)

Welcome to yet another video weekend courtesy of this blog. No need to go bankrupt in your nearest cinema or lose much time searching for videos which grow you as a person rather than dumbing you down like so much of the corporate entertainment does. Have some laughs, shed some tears, and learn how to fight our rigged system while you relax, maybe with friends and family, watching these videos. Be sure to share them.

The first video (from the The Jimmy Dore Show) covers a variety of topics: Brexit, solidarity, presidential power and failure to use it — doom of journalism and the hubris and lack of concern and sympathy among the privileged and sheltered lucky ones in a profession that is falling apart — the awful mentality of the establishment’s henchmen and handmaidens such as those self-satified shills in the corporate media — how Obama became a sell-out instead of a hero — and Kamala Harris’ corruption:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “Obama’s Three Biggest Failures – Not What You Think”)

 

Death to master-thieves in other countries. Elevation to pharaoh status in ours. Wait… didn’t we make war on this very same overseas government once?

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “3 Criminal Bankers Sentenced To DEATH!”)

 

No kidding, but even the spare time activity of golf is part of the establishment’s schemes against us now! — Private elite universities also leech off us even as we ourselves can no longer afford basic college. — Our national price-gouging and political bribing by Big Pharma is a big problem and we are forbidden to buy medication from cheaper places, even as our blood-sucking drug companies themselves are permitted to do what we are not: to buy cheaper Canadian drugs. And after they buy them cheap, as we are not allowed to, they get to sell them to us at a steep markup to pad their wallets, all watched over by our FDA for drug safety, of course. The latter means that all this quacking and clucking about safety risks when buying medicine from Canada is nothing but a baldfaced lie. — Our low taxes on corporations are only high in theory but quite low in practice (and, yet, our biggest corporations evade them anyway). — Researchers are being bought by corporations just like politicians are (global warming denial anyone?). — Scapegoating of immigrants is an old game of pulling the wool over our eyes. — Last but not least, taxing should happen where the money is, not where it’s lacking:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “Economic Update: Faith & Labor Fight Inequality”)

Hmm… the rich person I once intimately knew sure enough spent much of her time in this iconic rich people’s pastime.

Richard Wolff quote: “… profit grabbing… using the power of your business to control the politics to give you yet another benefit on top of all of those you’ve purchased before.”

 

Have you wondered how our oligarchs report low unemployment to celebrate our nation and its “recovery” from the last stock market crash when our economy declines and sucks in reality? You simply don’t count unemployed people who have given up looking for jobs they know are not there; and you count people pushed into poverty as employment success when the growing number of working poor in an economy which increasingly squeezes us to our limits reflects the disappearing middle class. You can now find the conditions of poor, low-wage China right here in the U.S.:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “Unemployment – Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics – Richard Wolff”)

Conclusion: We have a working class out of work (with some of us not completely out of work but underemployed and underpaid, so maybe not out of work, but out of life). Any wonder that our economy sucks?

 

Somehow I felt like sharing this one (with no further comment)… It kind of fits in with all that I-don’t-care-about-others-thinking which has poisoned our society, killing the solidarity we need to stand up for our rights, and which defines our establishment:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “Don’t judge people you don’t know ( you will cry after watching )”)

 

Oh, and if you missed them, yesterday’s piece shared two videos well worth watching this weekend: Inequality for All (BM, RR, & DD)

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Inequality for All (BM, RR, & DD)

Today’s piece holds a lot of critical thoughts about our faulty economy and politics. It analyses the economic faults we need to fix. I thought I shared the below excellent Bill Moyers interview of Robert Reich before, but I can’t find this earlier share. So, maybe I didn’t. Anyway, this is a good interview to watch (and discuss) about the topic of our flawed economy, even if I may have shared it earlier, say on a Video Weekend. Here is the video clip itself plus a bit of meaningful commentary I just wrote, followed by Reich’s 2013 documentary film and some more commentary distilling and digesting the most important points he makes:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for “Moyers & Company” and the title: “Inequality for All”)

Robert Reich reminds us of the old idea of upward mobility rewarding guts and gumption. It’s a traditional concept for excusing and edifying our socio-economic system, the idea of a meritocracy. Not only have we fallen far behind other countries (like European countries) in this rags-to-riches story, as Robert Reich reminds us in this interview, but I also feel that there is something else wrong with it: namely, in my opinion, this philosophy of everything being just fine when upward mobility exists, warps society towards greed and socially irresponsible callousness. It warps it in favor of greedy, materialistic people, especially those who have absolutely no concern for others (or very lightly put such concerns aside) and will do anything – even destroy livelihoods and kill people with abandon – in order to rise in wealth. I am completely in agreement with Pope Francis when he deplores our societies’ loss of human values in the wake of making everything to be just about money.  Continue reading

Video Weekend 8-05-2017 (6 Videos): Lee Camp, Noam Chomsky, Richard Wolff, Chris Hedges, and Someone I’d Rather Not Mention

Noam Chomsky gives a good account on how social isolation and predatory/parasitic selfishness (euphemistically presented as individuality), when adopted as an alternative to social awareness and appreciation of civilization, causes havoc among us and has given us our current mess:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Noam Chomsky Destroys Libertarianism”)

 

I find that Lee Camp is often better in his rants than his Redacted Tonight show. In this one, he debunks the neoliberal “Democrats’” latest effort to scam us and the political monopoly formed by our party duopoly:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “The Democrats Try to Rebrand Their Corruption: QUICK TAKE”)

 

Dug up from over a year ago, worth watching again or not to have missed, a great rant by Lee Camp (except for his repeating the common mistake of equating free market with capitalism when, in reality, capitalism is a force which ensures that only the biggest (the richest) bullies are free, free to subjugate everyone else). Our “free” market and “free” country are free only for the rich. The best kinds of slaves don’t know they are slaves:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “[92] Truth About The Drug War, Hillary’s Emails Are Being Censored, You Are Not Free & more “)

 

The current state of our kleptocracy, Henry Wallace, neoliberal philosophy is a form of extremism, and 2008 is coming again:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Dr. Richard Wolff – Is the Global Financial Crisis Close?”)

 

I admit to great reluctance sharing the next video. I cannot stand Stefan Molyneux’s arrogance, nor his ill-conceived stance that government must be abolished without anything to replace it. He is, of course, right that, currently, our government is being abused by our human parasites and predators as a tool against us, and also in proposing that government will always be at risk of being usurped and subverted this way by these “human farmers,” as he calls them. For reasons of attitudinal blindness or possible self-serving motivations, as someone who lives comfortably high in our dungheap society, he refuses to see or admit that these same “human farmers” would continue to exploit and oppress us even more unhindered if there were no government around, and that government – as a force which we, the people, can control if we act smartly enough – is the one major force we can bring to bear against these “human farmers.” Molyneux does, however, very nicely present the enslavement of human beings by other human beings, especially the dire fact that the most efficient form of slavery is the kind which gives the slaves the illusion that they are free and a limited range of choices within which to become more productive. Mentality and perception are indeed the key to our injustice machine of a society, and Molyneux description of us unprivileged working class folks as our oligarchs’ “livestock” is really fitting. I find they really do treat and regard us like livestock. Still, while Molyneux’s analysis is worth mulling over, his conclusion is anything but. (I guess, Molyneux is probably a star among the alt-right and/or Ayn Rand style libertarians.) So, I recommend this video (which apparently has had over 6 million views!) with a grain of salt. Please do not let yourself be deluded into its conclusion that eliminating government without something to replace it with as a guardian against the human predators and parasites among us is the course to take. I would also advise against watching more of his videos. The ones I have come across in the past were all… what’s a good word for that… uhm… let’s say beyond the pale.

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “The Story of Your Enslavement”)

So, I hope you took the grain of salt before watching this video (at least its conclusion).

 

Chris Hedges was moving as always:

(Note: if the video linked above gets deleted, you may search the Internet for the title: “Chris Hedges Best Speech In 2017”)

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America Must Radicalize – But in the Correct Direction

Over the last three or four decades, our nation has steadily declined. Furthermore, the fire sale of our country – and of the democracy that we need so badly to take it back – is not slowing down but reaching a feverish frenzy. We, the people, must therefore act quickly and with resolution. In other words, any clinging to the false hope of gradual improvement, with a small reform here and a tiny tinkering there, is a most stupid stance which ignores the ongoing fire sale and which we no longer have the luxury to believe in. Gradualism has proven itself a false promise, an insincere voter pacification, over the course of those dismal decades that saw our country go down the drain as our politicians from both major parties talked a good game but sold us out to wealthy special interests behind closed doors. Instead of hoping for gradual change-for-the-better to come from the people who have been selling us out, we must go after the root problems, which is to say: we must radicalize.

Continue reading